Gatorade has a division that is geared towards high school coaches. Every two years, they create a library of assets used to appeal to this demographic. They reached out to us about capturing stills of real high school athletes that would compel coaches to buy into the Gatorade program for their school. Sounded like a fascinating project, right? It was, but it was going to take some work to get there. Our first task was to find a school that would allow us to work with all the teams in season to create the needed content.
We quickly learned that school districts either are either designated as a “Pepsi district” or not – and since Gatorade is a Pepsi product, it immediately eliminated many schools. It was also fall... a great time to shoot high school sports, but not a great time to ask anything from already spread thin athletic staff. Our Gatorade rep helped make introductions, but it was our job to find the school and get them to commit. Another hitch is that we couldn't pay them money, but we could bring lots of Gatorade swag, and I mean lots of it.
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 an amicable school. 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, my gut told me this would be a missed opportunity if I didn’t get some live footage. So although it was not part of the scope of the project at this point, we made the call to film everything as well. I brought in my team that works together often and well, so we all know what to do without a lot of fuss.
As our luck would have it, the team won and advanced to the playoffs. Great for them, but that 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.
The finished project was a huge success. The players got a lot of positive attention, boosting their confidence and morale. Our good not only gained us additional access to the campus to shoot the other athletic departments, but our Gatorade client was blown away by the powerful story our footage told. The program expanded to include two impactful live-action spots that spoke directly to other high-school coaches. It was a win-win for everyone.