Ad of the Day: Elena Delle Donne Opens Up About Her Sister in Remarkable Gatorade Film

WNBA star finds hard-won perspective through family

Gatorade's "Win from Within" message has already yielded some fantastic marketing about where athletes like Serena Williams and Usain Bolt find their inspiration. Now, the sports drink is back to focus on WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, and her sister Lizzie.

A new two-minute ad from TBWA\Chiat\Day beautifully tells the story of why the Chicago Sky forward, and league MVP for 2015, dropped out of a U-Conn scholarship earlier in her career so she could continue to spend time with her sibling, who has cerebral palsy, and cannot see or hear.

"Everyone thinks I came home to help her, but she was the one helping me, getting me out of the worst rut of my life" says Delle Donne. "She gives me perspective."

It's a powerful sentiment, stunningly captured, as the athlete reflects on the sheer joy her sister gets from something as simple as the feeling from a gust of wind.

In the end, a commercial that flirts at the beginning with grandiose concepts like fate ends on a surprisingly practical note. "You don't focus on what you don't have," concludes Delle Donne. "You celebrate what you do."

From one angle, that might still seem like oversimplified marketing pablum, easy for a celebrity athlete raking in a presumably sizable endorsement check to say, no matter the depth of her personal struggles or of her empathy. From another, it might seem exploitative of her sister.

But in the end, it's very humanizing, spotlighting an underrepresented population and offering useful pop wisdom—not just for would-be sports stars, but for anyone who's felt beaten down, and is still capable of taking a step back. That's good news for Gatorade. Aspiring pro ballers is a much smaller market for sugar water.

Gatorade also created a companion piece featuring a wind-powered art installation by artist Michael Murphy. "Using 1,606 wind spinners and a 20-by-20-foot metal structure, the sculpture creates a unique perceptual experience embodying the perspective brought by Elena's big sister Lizzie's love of the wind," the brand says.

See a video of that work below. 


Client: Gatorade

Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day

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@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.