Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sports and Fitness Marketing: Gatorade Sues Powerade

Adage has reported on the fact that Gatorade has sued Powerade for false advertising.

From Adage:
Powerade is seeking to set itself apart by touting its drink as containing four electrolytes -- sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium -- while Gatorade's formula contains just two electrolytes, sodium and potassium. Gatorade's suit takes issue with Powerade's positioning, noting the "miniscule" amounts of calcium and magnesium that are part of the new formulation. "There is no evidence that the minute quantities of magnesium and calcium present in Powerade Ion4 make it superior to Gatorade in any way," the complaint states.
See, this is the problem with fitness marketing. It's all silly and ridiculous. Power drinks, power bars, post workout drinks, etc... they're all focused on minute amounts of nutrients that don't really make a bit of difference to the human body. (In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan has an interesting take on our silly focus on nutrients.) Sometimes, to seem legitimate, an ad or product will cite a study from pubmed or something to back its claims up. But that doesn't mean anything because you can almost always find a conflicting study. You can scour the pubmed database for studies that prove just about anything, depending on what product you're trying to move.

I hope no one actually feels that they're going to be that much better at a given sport because they're drinking Powerade Ion4 instead of regular Powerade or Gatorade. Sports drinks have their place (they're good for some sports, but not others), but really, when you're choosing between them you're nitpicking.

What's a pity is that this stuff works. Products are created that don't have a hope in heck of ever working. And people buy them because of empty promises. It gives marketing a bad name, really. I think I'd find fitness marketing would be a pretty empty career choice.