Media > Use of Media

NBA 2K9

OMD, New York / GATORADE / 2009

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Overview

Credits

Overview

Effectiveness

Within just a few months, NBA2K9 surpassed its guarantee of 1.15MM units from 2K Sports. Brand research determined that the integration created a memorable experience. Strong recall levels indicate that the frequency of Gatorade’s placements positively impacted gamers’ awareness – 82% of those who recalled Gatorade in the game could even pinpoint a specific location. Three-quarters of players liked the various components of the integration, including the Thirst Meter. The creativity and activation of Gatorade’s presence presented an authentic, real-life replication of NBA games, with 34% of those surveyed responding that the Thirst Meter made the game feel more like an actual NBA game.

Execution

To take Gatorade’s brand relevancy to a new level through gaming with NBA 2K9, we started working on our slam dunk by creating an innovative, unprecedented feature we call the Gatorade Thirst Meter System.

The Thirst Meter works with the game’s artificial intelligence, allowing the system to recognize when players become dehydrated. That’s when the “Gatorade Recommended Substitution” kicks in, designating players to hit the bench for a Gatorade refill. Once the player is hydrated, they’re back in action!

This never-before-seen functionality tied Gatorade’s hydration attributes seamlessly into the true experience of athletes, adding the dimension of thirst to gamers’ reality. To make the game even more realistic, dehydrated players who were not subbed out showed sluggish performance, indicated by a green Gatorade cup.Additional Gatorade branding, including signage, coolers and cups hard-coded into the stadiums, was strategically placed throughout the game to further enhance and maintain true-to-life authenticity.

Strategy

Gatorade is recognized as a key component in athletic performance. While many professional athletes are also serious sports gamers, Gatorade’s target includes young adults that don’t play or watch competitive sports. These armchair “Social Athletes” did not have a strong affiliation with the Gatorade brand…yet.

Jumping into the game, our brand research found that while Social Athletes – one of the fastest-growing segments among the 18–34 crowd – weren’t actually shooting hoops, they were completely engaged with the NBA through console gaming.

This reinforced the need for Gatorade’s NBA in-game presence to reach these Social Athletes. As we discovered, gaming is a key platform to connect with players looking for real-life sports authenticity, particularly due to how close to “real” sports videogames have become. And Gatorade is the only brand that can tie-in its endemic product benefits of hydration and performance to add the desired authenticity that gamers are thirsty for.

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