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Brief Published: 13 Oct 2021

Gatorade Scores with Athlete Creators on TikTok


PepsiCo beverage brand Gatorade has assembled a Social Squad of nine young athlete creators to produce sports-related content and build its presence on short-form video platform TikTok. The move is a shrewd one, since US users now spend more time on TikTok than they do on YouTube (App Annie, 2021).

Gatorade sourced the squad through existing sports communities on TikTok and held tryouts starting back in March to select the right creators. Those that stood out among the 1,500 submissions include American soccer freestyler Caitlyn Schrepfer and football player Clifford Taylor. In line with the autumn sports season among high schools and colleges, the resulting content series is running through to November.

With its focus on creating a more peer-to-peer performance community, the Social Squad builds on Gatorade Skills and Drills video series, which launched in June and showcased advice from professional athletes, coaches and doctors on how to improve athletic performance.

As we highlighted in Pop Culture Pulse: Connecting Creative Audiences, modern sports fandom is personality-driven. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo let social-savvy young athletes use social media to offer new perspective on the games (since international licensing deals banned the sharing of footage from the fields of play). These more intimate connections diversify brand engagement opportunities, while opening up community talking points around athletes' personal interests as well as their professional prowess.

Gatorade's connection with young athletes comes at a similarly opportune moment. In July, the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) relaxed rules that previously banned college athletes from monetising their fame, which creates new opportunities for brand partnerships with sports stars.

For more, check out Summer of Sport: Brand Engagement Tactics, and look out for our report on Future Sports Fandoms in early November.