Just Chew It: Gatorade

Owned by Pepsico, the world’s second-largest food-and-beverage company, which has sales of US$108 billion and spends US$1.4 billion a year on advertising.

Ad spend Australia: $12 million

Sport: Gatorade is a Silver Partner of Cricket Australia in a deal worth maybe $750,000, which gives it signage, a Gatorade drinks break in Test and one-day matches and the title of cricket’s official sports drink. Gatorade also sponsors six NRL rugby league teams—the Bulldogs, Roosters, Wests Tigers, Eels, Storm and Sharks—plus athletics and basketball.

Stars: Gatorade pays Test cricketers Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson and Socceroo Tim Cahill to sell its wares. It also uses champion Australian triathlete Chris Legh, plus basketballers Erin Phillips and Neil Mottram, and Olympic champion sprinter, Usain Bolt.

Targeting kids: Gatorade runs junior rugby league programs with GatorGames for 15000 primary school kids in NSW. It also runs junior soccer clinics with Tim Cahill, for kids as young as six, with the slogan: “Every can or cap is a chance for your club to win.” The marketing pitch for its “Gatorade for Active Under-13s range” tells parents: “an alarming two-thirds of kids are significantly dehydrated when they turn up to sport, it’s clear active kids need to drink more and not just when they’re thirsty’.”

The ads: Gatorade’s cricket ads this summer featured Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee.

And Mitchell Johnson makes his beverage pitch.

Food Facts: Gatorade contains water, salts and about half the sugar of a soft drink like Fanta or Coke. But the bottles are bigger, and 600ml still contains nine teaspoonfuls (36 grams) of sugar.

Expert verdict: Choice Food for kids website says the U-13’s Gatorade is better than the adult version, but it still contains a lot of sugar, and “unless your offspring is a fledgling elite athlete, special sports drinks for kids are unnecessary.” Get them to drink water instead.