Cannes Lions

5V5: the power of sport

PEPSICO, Dublin / GATORADE / 2023

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Overview

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Overview

Background

The challenges facing teenagers growing up around the world today are complex and culturally nuanced. Whilst there’s no easy panacea, playing sport brings a positive impact to people’s lives – not just through health and fitness but by teaching values that shape their futures.

The stark reality is that, by the age of 13, 70% of teenagers drop out of sport (National Alliance for Youth Sports). Critically, girls are dropping out of sport at twice the rate of boys by the age of 14 (Women's Sport Foundation).

Gatorade is on a mission to reverse these statistics. Its brand purpose – fuelling everyone’s athletic performance – created a global platform, “5V5”, to give young people the opportunity to play competitive sport.

The pandemic nearly ended 5V5. Gatorade couldn’t let that happen, so intensified their focus on breaking down the barriers that teenage girls face in playing it.

Idea

Gatorade created “5V5” – a global five-a-side football tournament helping 14-16-year-olds reach their true sporting potential. Every participant is treated like a pro-footballer with access to coaches, mentors, nutritionists and training support.

COVID-19 stopped 5V5. In fact, it nearly ended it. Gatorade couldn’t let that happen, so 5V5 was

re-born, bigger and better; now with a larger ambition to increase the opportunities for girls to play sport.

The competition ran in 10 countries, including Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Italy and Thailand. Tournaments were first held locally with winners heading to a national final. The winners of these national finals then competed in a global final set around the UEFA Champions League Women’s and Men’s Finals.

5V5 gave Gatorade a platform which had global scale and appeal, inspiring the next generation through sport. More importantly, it was an open and accessible format which actively encouraged female participation from any background.

Strategy

The Women’s Sport Foundation data served as a powerful catalyst.

A blend of bespoke audience (Murphy Research), sport (International SportsBrowser) and occasion mapping (Kantar Demand Mapping) were at the heart of the strategic approach.

Our ‘bullseye’ audience was defined as 14-18-year-olds who were more inclined to be competitive in their athletic pursuits. Football is, overwhelmingly, the most ‘followed and supported’ participation sport across the globe. Beverage occasion mapping pointed to hydration as the largest daily occasion, which is equally important at any time during the day. As a result, these consumers are looking for a healthy and sustainable product to meet their needs.

These insights served as the foundation to an idea which had to be competitive in nature, focused on football and fulfil Gatorade’s brand purpose in its execution. Most importantly, the focus had to be female.

Execution

Gatorade’s partnership with the UEFA Champions League powered 5V5 to create unique sporting opportunities for girls. 10 countries had female tournaments.

In Italy, the first ever female-only tournament was held with 48 girls taking part. The competition final was hosted the final around the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in Turin. The winners became part of the opening ceremony as Centre Circle Carriers.

In Colombia, 73 teams of girls competed, supported by social media and PR. The finals were televised on the largest free-to-air sport channel, WINSports.

The Italian female tournament winners and every national winning team flew to Paris, the host city of the UEFA Men’s Champions League, to compete in the global 5V5 finals. They were given coaching sessions from Barcelona, nutritional advice and VIP tickets to the game. This was an unattainable dream for many players, most of whom had never been on a plane before.

Outcome

Overall, 1,200 girls from 10 countries competed in 2022, alongside 4,850 in the boys’ competition.

The new 2022 5V5 competition created 2.25 billion media impressions, via 400+ pieces of media coverage contributing to Gatorade’s TM volume growth of 20% (H1 2022).

More importantly, Gatorade’s 5V5 has been genuinely life changing for the girls. Incredibly, two 5V5 alumni have now represented Colombia in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

The communal effect of teenagers from different countries and backgrounds able to share experiences is far more powerful than any sales or media result.

That’s the power of sport to change lives.

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