First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat Into a Cultural Phenomenon

Overview

"Remember the Cola Wars, with Coke and Pepsi battling it out year after year for supremacy in the soft drink market? Or what about the Burger Wars, the legendary slugfests between McDonald?s and Burger King?

Then of course, there were the Sports Drink Wars. If you blinked, you might have missed them, because Gatorade has swiftly and decisively fended off every would-be rival. Although a few other brands hold slim market shares, the fact is that Gatorade single-handedly created the sports drink industry 40 years ...

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First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat Into a Cultural Phenomenon

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Overview

"Remember the Cola Wars, with Coke and Pepsi battling it out year after year for supremacy in the soft drink market? Or what about the Burger Wars, the legendary slugfests between McDonald’s and Burger King?

Then of course, there were the Sports Drink Wars. If you blinked, you might have missed them, because Gatorade has swiftly and decisively fended off every would-be rival. Although a few other brands hold slim market shares, the fact is that Gatorade single-handedly created the sports drink industry 40 years ago and has absolutely ruled it ever since.

But Gatorade is more than just a triumph of branding. First, it’s a trusted product that has been scientifically proven to do what it claims to do.

Second, Gatorade is an enthralling story, brought to life in bright color and sharp detail in First in Thirst. Author Darren Rovell, a skilled, objective, and passionate journalist, chronicles every astonishing milestone of the company’s history.

With unprecedented access to the inventors, the marketers, the analysts and observers, and key company figures past and present, Rovell recounts the sweat-drenched University of Florida football practices, the first (unpalatable) prototypes, and the commercial and financial interest that quickly took hold following the drink’s first on-field successes. Then came the advertising, sponsorships, product placements (many of them fortuitous), and finally the two milestones that cemented Gatorade’s iconic status once and for all -- the ubiquitous Gatorade bath and the Michael Jordan ""Be Like Mike"" endorsement deal.

With refreshing candor, First in Thirst also offers an inside look at the negotiations, battles, lawsuits, mergers and acquisitions, product strategies, lucky breaks, and even the missteps (there have not been many) that have attended Gatorade’s reign as the 800-pound gorilla of the sports-drink scene. Rovell places the reader inside labs and brainstorming sessions, at board meetings and ad shoots, on the sidelines and in the dugouts, even in the winner’s circle at NASCAR events -- where Gatorade manages maximum exposure even at tracks whose official sponsors include chief rival POWERade.

The book identifies the nine Gatorade Rules, business principles that have helped Gatorade become one of the most dominant brands ever. By adhering to these principles, businesses in other industries may achieve greater brand recognition and market share.

Long before America knew what ""deep-down body thirst"" was, a team of university scientists had already invented something to quench it. First in Thirst is the story of the product and the company, and of America’s fascination with the one and only Gatorade."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Selected as one of Soundview Executive Book Summaries's the ""30 Best Business Books"" of the year.

Publishers Weekly: ""...an account wide in scope, rich in details and sufficiently varied to keep the pages turning.""

Beverage Digest: ""[A] new book by ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell provides fascinating insights into original development -- and sale -- of Gatorade.""

Yahoo! Sports: ""[A] fascinating new book.[Author] Rovell does an excellent job keeping a business story moving by interweaving plenty of sports and bigger picture ideas into First in Thirst. There is enough here for the businessperson, the sports fan and anyone who loves a story about how one small, simple idea could become so big.""

Dallas Morning News, Steve Powers, nationally syndicated columnist: ""It’s a lively book rich in detail.""

Business Ledger (Oak Brook, IL): ""...an engrossing read...the book is captivating.""

BrandChannel.com: ""A good read about a product’s ups and downs for those into sports, business, or supposed hangover cures.""

Mississippi Business Journal: ""...a fascinating business story.""

Detroit Free Press: ""He [Rovell] writes a fascinating chronicle of how Gatorade’s superb marketing overcame obstacles."""

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814410950
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 9/2/2005
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Darren Rovell has been reporting on sports business since 1998. Since June 2000 he has served as ESPN.com’s sports business reporter. He also appears on numerous ESPN radio affiliate shows and on ESPNews, and contributes to ESPN’s flagship Sports Center, its investigative Outside the Lines shows, and ESPN2’s morning show Cold Pizza. In 2004, Rovell was named to Newsbios’ 30 under 30, a list of the top 30 national business reporters under 30. He is the co-author of On the Ball: What You Can Learn About Business from America’s Sports Leaders. Mr. Rovell is based in Bristol, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

"ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IX

INTRODUCTION 1

CHAPTER 1: SWEAT IN A BOTTLE 9

The Guinea Pigs and Testing 15

Making the Drink 17

The First Test 19

The LSU Game 21

CHAPTER 2: THE MYSTIQUE IS BORN 25

The Auburn Game 29

Gatorade Snatchers 30

Press Catches On 33

Commercial Interest 38

CHAPTER 3: FROM FIELD TO SHELVES 41

In Gatorade They Trust 44

Marketing Issues 46

NFL Coolers and Cups 50

Sports Illustrated 53

Cyclamate Disaster 58

Continuing the Legend 62

CHAPTER 4: WRESTLING OVER GATORADE 65

The University Loses Out 68

The Trust Takes It to Court 71

Cade Explodes 72

It’s All Settled 74

CHAPTER 5: THE “TIPPING” POINT 77

The Inaugural Dunk 78

Carson and Parcells Get Paid 80

Best Gatorade Baths 86

The Deadly Dunk 88

CHAPTER 6: “BE LIKE MIKE” 95

The Thirst Aid Campaign 97

Wooing Michael Jordan 99

Jordan Signs $13.5 Million Deal 102

“Be Like Mike” 105

His Airness Retires 115

CHAPTER 7: “WE’RE GOING TO WAR” 123

Coke and Pepsi Attack 124

All Sport Dismantled 131

1996 Olympics 138

Convenience Store Strategy 139

POWERade Relaunch 145

NASCAR Battleground 150

CHAPTER 8: THE GATORADE RULES 153

1. Make Sure Your Product, Service, or Brand

Is Unique and Know What Makes It Unique 154

2. Never Stop Researching the Marketplace 158

3. Identify Drivers of the Business and

Take Care of Them 163

4. Never Stop Working to Get Your Next Consumer 168

5. Packaging Counts 172

6. Learn from Your Mistakes 175

7. Seek to Connect Emotion and Passion to the Brand 178

8. Stay Disciplined 182

9. Form Smart Strategic Alliances 188

CHAPTER 9: GATORADE CRITICS 191

Quaker Buys TQ2 193

Pedialyte and Rehydralyte Challenge 196

New Challenger 199

Gatorade vs. Water 200

Influence Over Trainers 203

The Dehydration Myth 206

EPILOGUE 211

APPENDIX A 215

Sponsorships 215

Origins Ad 221

Everywhere Rap 223

Gatorade Royalties 224

Gatorade Sales 224

All-Time Flavor Roster 226

APPENDIX B 227

Letter Exchange, Bill Schmidt and Bill Parcells 229

NOTES 231

Index 239

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 244"

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2007

    Mistake

    Gatorade did not 'invent' this drink, as there was no product or organization by that name when the drink was developed in 1965.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2005

    Well-researched and compelling brand story

    This is such a powerful brand story that you may actually get thirsty reading it. Most people have no idea that sweating creates a huge drink market, but author Darren Rovell tells a well-researched, interesting and compelling story about how a group of Florida doctors concocted a simple drink to prevent dehydration. A combination of good science, luck and efficient marketing helped transform this initially unpalatable drink into the world¿s most popular sports elixir. Along the way, Gatorade marketers forged relationships with athletes, teams and superstars, and capitalized on the public¿s fascination with sports. The end result was a sales and marketing bonanza. We recommend this brand building saga to all marketers or to anyone interested in just how a drink built a bridge between sports and popular culture. Even if you don¿t break a sweat reading Rovell¿s marketing saga, prepare yourself to buy a bottle of Gatorade - you¿re going to want to satisfy your thirst to check this out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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