Gatorade, Crosby Play Head Games

NEW YORK A new spot for Gatorade by Downtown Partners DDB in Toronto, airing exclusively in Canada, reveals what happens inside the head of Sidney Crosby, center for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he prepares to take a shot on goal.

As Crosby, the youngest player with two 100-point NHL seasons barrels toward the goalie, the camera zooms onto, and eventually smacks into, the back of his head.

Inside, we find a group of men dressed like air-traffic controllers gathered around a miniature hockey table with graphics reminiscent of a video game. Crosby’s mind is a hive of activity. In one area, men shovel coal into a blazing blue fire. In another, hundreds of pictures blaze by.

As the target is chosen, we see, from Crosby’s point of view, a bull’s-eye forms over the opposing goalie’s shoulder. After he scores, he hydrates with Gatorade. The brand’s familiar “Is it in you?” tagline closes the spot.

“We wanted to show how Gatorade fuels Sidney’s performance,” said Jeff Jackett, marketing manager at Gatorade, a unit of PepsiCo. “We wanted to connect with the target market—Canadian hockey players and fans—and say to them, ‘You want to find out what goes on inside of Sidney? Let’s go inside.'”

The spot is scheduled to run until June.

Downtown Partners DDB turned to Motion Theory, a production company based in Los Angeles, for the visual effects and direction. The spot, which began airing last week, took roughly four months and 25 staffers to deliver. It utilizes a combination of 3-D and 2-D graphics, in-camera effects and software developed specifically for the job.

“The hardest part was keeping [the spot] true to hockey, and keeping it true to Sidney,” said Mathew Cullen, who, along with Grady Hall, co-directed. “Although it is fantastical, we’re still going into the inner workings of Sidney.”

To that end, there are several in-jokes throughout the 60-second spot, including a reference to Nova Scotia, where Crosby was raised, and a room where his draft number, 12, is written on penguin eggs.