FCB Reduces Heroes to Toys in New Gatorade Ad

Gatorade’s stable of sports pitchmen are transformed into children’s toys in a new spot from FCB that breaks this week and targets pre-teens.

The Chicago shop aims one or two of the dozen or so spots it does each year for Gatorade at kids 8-12, said Danny Schumann, creative director and copywriter on the spot.

Called “Action Figures,” the spot depicts Gatorade’s pitchmen from various sports—soccer player Mia Hamm, baseball’s Derek Jeter, basketball’s Vince Carter and football’s Peyton Manning—as small figures in a toy store who suck down some Gatorade then jump into action on a foosball table. Computer generation was handled by Digital Domain.

Schumann said the four are seen as “the next wave of stars.” They did voiceovers for this spot but will continue to appear individually and in groups in Gatorade ads aimed at older audiences.

Last year, FCB had Vince Carter in an animated spot called “Raptor vs. Raptor” that was also aimed at a younger crowd.

“In any sort of sports advertising the stakes are pretty high,” said Joe Burke, co-creative director on the spot. “Each year we look at fresh and unusual ways to use them.”

“Action Figures” breaks on the Cartoon Network and will play mostly on kids’ programming, an FCB representative said.

Gatorade is owned by Quaker Oats, which is expected to be acquired by Pepsi. That could be an issue for the brand’s future at FCB, as agency parent True North Communications is expected to be acquired by the Interpublic Group of Companies this summer. IPG has major Coca-Cola work and it’s likely some changes will have to be made to placate all parties.

Quaker spends about $100 million a year on Gatorade, vastly more than Coke has spent on its entry, Powerade. However, this year Coke has said it will ratchet up spending.