The key ingredient in Powerade's scientific claims: a grain of salt

Posted on Mon Mar 23 2009


Coca-Cola's Powerade is launching a new ad campaign touting its product as a scientifically superior alternative to Gatorade. It has reformulated its drinks to have four electrolytes compared to Gatorade's two, and has thus dubbed itself an "advanced electrolyte system." Still, it feels like you need to take these claims with an extra grain of one of Powerade's four key ingredients: salt. Because frankly, Coke's track record hasn't been very good of late. Claims about its "calorie-burning soda" Enviga ended in a $650,000 settlement to 27 states. Right before Christmas, the FDA said Diet Coke Plus's nutrient claims were in violation of the law. And even during the current March Madness tourney, VitaminWater received some unwanted attention when it was revealed that some of its flavor ingredients may create a false positive for drug testing among athletes. In the meantime, Gatorade, which substantiated its claims long ago, absolutely dominates the sports-drink category. Still, while Powerade has been an also-ran for as long as it's been around, at least it's not All Sport.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

All Sport, the sports-drink brand that for some reason won't die

Posted on Wed Mar 11 2009


In the '90s, PepsiCo hatched its own sports drink called All Sport. For whatever reason, it was lightly carbonated (not sure why athletes would want that), and pretty much never gained any significant market share from Gatorade fans (because everyone wanted to be like Mike). After Coke balked at buying Quaker Oats, which it was eyeing mostly for its crown jewel Gatorade, Pepsi swooped in and snapped it up for a cool $13.4 billion in 2000. Ironically, there were concerns at the FTC about PepsiCo owning Gatorade and the underwhelming All Sport. To appease those concerns, Pepsi sold All Sport to the little-known Monarch Beverages. The brand's presence continued to dwindle to near non-existence until, lo and behold, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group relaunched it this week. In what is at least its fourth try, the brand is now being touted as the first, all-natural zero-calorie sports drink. It uses the new, hip sweetener rebiana. While an all-natural, no-calorie sports drink is a great idea, and it's nice to see Dr Pepper Snapple pioneering something for the first time in forever, why bring back All Sport? The brand has zero equity with consumers and has never posted anything close to strong sales. If anything, the people who did try it in its carbonated version, or saw it in its horribly repackaged form under Monarch, probably think it sucks.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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