Gatorade gets (another) makeover

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Get ready for an even newer Gatorade. Following a tough year marked by plummeting sales and a highly public scandal surrounding one of its biggest celebrity endorsers (a certain golfer with a feline first name), the company is understandably eager to put 2009 behind it.

But, as one might expect from a beverage maker that has long asked "is it in you?," the incredibly popular brand isn't facing its adversity sitting down: coming on the heels of its 2009 renaming effort, Gatorade -- or "G" -- is introducing new types of drinks and giving its old ones an overhaul -- again.
Gatorade was once simple. A slightly salty, mineral-packed permutation of Kool-Aid, it came in flavors like "Lime" and "Orange," and promised to replenish electrolytes for overextended athletes. In fact, this was part of its original mythology: the University of Florida Gators, whose team doctor helped develop the concoction, credited it with their 1966 Orange Bowl win against Georgia Tech. For years, the brand skated by on this reputation, despite a market that was increasingly crowded with PowerAde, Vitamin Water and other offerings. As competition grew, Gatorade massively expanded its line.

In 2009, Gatorade began playing with new names, making its lineup sound less like a selection of sports drinks and more like a biker gang: original Gatorade became "G," while Gatorade Rain became "No Excuses." Gatorade AM transformed into "Shine On," Gatorade X-Factor became "Bring It," and Gatorade Tiger -- Mr. Woods' former beverage -- was renamed "Focus." Despite this effort, however, Gatorade's market share dropped to 75% and its sales volume fell by 14%.

Gatorade's next move is to expand the types of drinks that it offers. Rather than merely providing drinks for customers to quaff while exercising, Gatorade plans to offer a selection of beverages that are designed to be guzzled before, during and after a workout. Thus, fans of the brand can prepare for the gym by slurping down a big bottle of "Prime," which will come in four flavors and will contain carbs, sodium and potassium. During exercise, the current G-2 and "Thirst Quencher" beverages will help users protect against radical dehydration or spontaneous combustion, and post-workout beverage "Recover" will contain 16 grams of whey protein to help protect the body against debilitating self-cannibalization.

But how much G does a body need? According to Janessa R. Slatky, the clinical dietitian at Seton Northwest Hospital, Gatorade is worthwhile for workouts that last longer than an hour; short of that, however, water should provide more than enough hydration. What's more, Gatorade contains a large number of carbs and salt, which means that it could be a problem for people who are watching their weight or their sodium intake.

Massive branding effort aside, it looks like one Gatorade might be more than enough for the average athlete!

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