Battle of the Brands: Gatorade vs. PowerAde

By: Madeleine Horrigan

Dear Sodaholics,

I’m guessing you have all tried a sports drink at least once, whether it was because you were playing sports or not. The two most popular sports drinks on the market are Gatorade and PowerAde, and both happen to be made by two of the biggest soda producers: Coca-Cola Company and Pepsico. These beverages are known for hydration as well as for their electrolytes which “turn on all thought and motion” in the human body. Furthermore, “electrolytes are vital for cellular function and especially necessary for high performance” which makes electrolyte-containing sports drinks perfect for high performance athletes.

capture-decran-2016-12-01-a-09-12-56Let’s start with Powerade. Powerade is made by the soda giant Coca-Cola Company and was introduced in the early 90s. Their main brand message/story is powering through, working hard, and being game day ready. With over 15 flavour varieties and a Powerade Zero option, there is sure to be a Powerade flavour suited for everyone. Additionally, Powerade is the official drink of the AFL, PGA Tour, NASCAR, NHRA, NCAA and the U.S. Olympic Team. Powerade held 28.8% market share of the sports drink market in 2013 compared to Gatorade with 69.5%. With Gatorade dominating the sports drink industry, the Coca-Cola Company is constantly stepping outside of the box in efforts to increase Powerade’s market share.

As Powerade is a product predominantly used by athletes, it is only natural that a great deal of Powerade’s promotion efforts are made through celebrity endorsements. Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers are just a couple of the major celebrity athletes that endorse Powerade. While there can occasionally be controversy among these athletes, when they are seen drinking Powerade during a big game or appear in a Powerade ad, Powerade gains credibility as even the best athletes drink it.

While as a whole, the Coca Cola Company dominates in market share, Pepsico’s Gatorade dominates the sports drink industry with 69.5% market share in 2013. Gatorade’s brand image/story is winning, fueling the best athletes, and having the science to back up their claims. Gatorade has a variety of products including protein powder, energy and protein bars, and three lines of thirst quenchers (original, frost, and fierce). orangeWith over 25 flavours of drinks and a drink for before, during, and after the game, Gatorade is catering to all or almost all athletes.

Like Powerade, “Gatorade sponsors many professional athletes, collegiate and amateur teams, and events throughout the world including the New York Marathon, Boston Marathon, Chicago Triathlon and Ironman World Championship”. Additionally, Gatorade sponsors several famous athletes such as Dwayne Wade, Serena Williams, and Usain Bolt.



While Gatorade and Powerade are quite similar in taste and purpose, it is clear that their advertising and brand images are what sets them apart and makes for such a large difference in market share. Which sports drink do you prefer?



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