Gatorade has a division that is geared towards high school coaches and very couple years, they produce a volume of assets to appeal to this demographic. They reached out to us about capturing stills of real high school athletes to use for marketing to coaches promoting the Gatorade program for their school.
This sounded like a fascinating project but it was going to take work to realize their vision. The challenge: Finding a school that would allow us to work with all the teams in-season, to capture the content we needed.
We quickly learned that school districts either are either designated as a “Pepsi district” or not -and Gatorade is a Pepsi product- immediately eliminating many schools. Filming during the season meant that we’d have plenty to shoot but a difficult time getting any help from an athletic staff that was already spread thin.
Our Gatorade rep helped make introductions, but it was our job to find the school and get them to commit. To make things more complicated, legally, we couldn't pay the school any money. Instead, we could provide lots of Gatorade swag.
Our game plan was to work with a school not favored to go to the football playoffs in hopes they would be more available and open to working with us. After a lot of research, we found a school that fit the bill. Our first day out with them, we shot some incredible, very real editorial-style stills of the team in the field house, on the bus, and during a game.
In addition to the stills, we realized it would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t get some live footage as well. Although it was out of scope for the project, we made the call to film everything. As our luck would have it, the team won and advanced to the playoffs, which was great for them but threw a wrench in our plans.
In order to convince the school to allow us to stick around and shoot the additional images needed, we quickly edited a short spirit film that the school used to get the team and student body pumped up for the playoffs. It worked and the end result was a huge success.
The players got a lot of positive attention, boosting their confidence and morale. The goodwill we generated gained us additional access to the campus to shoot the other athletic departments and our Gatorade client was blown away by the powerful story our footage told.
In the end, Gatorade expanded the program to include two additional, really impactful live-action spots that spoke directly to other high-school coaches. The project was a big win for everyone.