Gatorade is kicking off a new campaign that will help youth sports across the country. Gatorade State Player of the Year winners are able to direct grant money to a deserving charity. Gatorade created special-edition bottles featuring their sponsored athletes, including Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, and Lionel Messi. Gatorade is encouraging its consumers to vote online for their favorite non-profit sports organizations.
What makes this such a unique idea is that consumers love to identify with its role models. Buyers believe that if they mimic the actions of these world-class athletes, they can identify better with them. That is, if I drink Gatorade like Usain Bolt, maybe I will be able to run faster and be stronger. By adding these athlete's images to the bottles, it reinforces this idea and brings the connection one step closer between athlete and consumer.
Gatorade executives want to draw consumers' focus to the lack of funding for youth programs. These programs are the grassroots pipeline that keep our sports healthy and engaged for years to come. By providing funding to youth programs, Gatorade can ensure that future generations of children have the opportunity to play sports and continue their dreams of becoming professional athletes.
Gatorade believes its "Play it Forward" program will have a lasting impact. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, all 606 Gatorade State Player of the Year winners can each give $1,000 grants to sports-related charities. There will also be an opportunity to gift one of 10 spotlight grants worth $10,000 at the end of the year.
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