he Role of Protein in Promoting Recovery Case Study

Marketing Research

In practical terms, there is very little difference between Gatorade and PowerAde. Both are forms of dietary supplements which often pose an unknown source of danger for individuals growing up to be sportsmen. All the growing up sportsmen should be educated on the subject as they are likely to face troubles in their life later, otherwise.

Many products that are marketed provide good returns for the marketing organization, but little benefits for the user.

The products are sports drinks and they are promoted with the images of sportsmen and Michael Jordan appeared on Gatorade bottles, but he did not get the benefit of having his own flavor. Now there is a new favorite of the sports world, and he is LeBron James, and his image will be the advertising for PowerAde’s Flava 23. When the flavor was selected, James was a part of the process. The process took place in winter when Coca Cola chemists went to Ritz Carlton for different flavors in front of James for selection. James is similar to Michael Jordan in many ways — he also wears the number 23. The choice by James will be a red sour berry flavor. Then there was the process of selection for the color and finally the color chosen was some color very close to the wine color of Cavalier’s. All products under both these brands are promoted through sportsmen but having the famous athlete in the process of designing the characteristics of a signature brand was the idea from Nike shoe designer, Tinker Hatfield. According to him this sort of a close association will help the brand in having a closer tie up with the potential customers.

Even the marketing company, Coca Cola is using James with the pious hope that this will improve the sales position for PowerAde, which became a national brand in 1992. The portion of the market that it has been able to collect is 14.9% while the market share of Gatorade is 81.2% as per the information given by Beverage Digest, which is a trade publication of this particular industry. So far as James is concerned, he is likely to make an amount of $2 million from this deal every year, but he may make more money if it is found that his endorsement is leading to greater sales. At the same time, this deal is creating some difficulties for the Cavalier’s team as the team has a deal with Gatorade for promotion of Gatorade products. This compelled James to drink from paper cups or use towels which were not printed with the Gatorade logo. Even the water bottles that James drank from did not have any labels.

Clearly the entire marketing exercise is based on a charade and both brands are participating in it. It is more important to know what the products contain.

There is a definition by food and Drug Administration of dietary supplements and in summary it may be said that dietary supplements consist of vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanical items, and amino acids to increase the quantities of the daily intake of these items. In short they are some form of food. These dietary supplements come in different forms like concentrates, metabolites, constituents, extracts or combinations of these ingredients. The form in which they are taken can be pills, capsules, tablet, liquids or even as powders, but all of them contain the same basic ingredients. Thus we are accustomed to dietary supplements for many purposes like multi-vitamins, energy bars, sports drinks as also specific herbs and “boosters.” The only clear consideration is that a dietary supplement is not the only item in a meal. The normal understanding of dietary supplements are in the forms of pills and powders, but there are many other items which also are actually dietary supplements. These are the sports drinks like Gatorade, PowerAde, Hydrafuel, Endurox, etc.; energy bars like Power bar, Harvest Bar, Balance Bar, Luna Bar, Clif Bar, etc.; Protein bars; Gels; and multivitamins. All these items are targeted at athletes and we have seen some mechanisms of how that is done. The constant refrain from the marketers of these products are “Supplements will help with your workouts in the pool,” “Supplements will improve your times at meets,” “Supplements will help you recover faster,” “Supplements will help you stay healthy and not get sick,” or “Supplements will help you lose weight and look cut.”

It is not that dietary supplements are not required, when an athlete has had a hard workout, they should consume a recovery beverage or snack that contain small amounts of high quality proteins and enough carbohydrates so that the muscle proteins are repaired and stimulated as also the muscle glycogen stores are replenished. There are many foods also that same the same purpose and one can directly think of milk, yoghurt, small sandwiches or even energy bars. What must be seen is that the food contains at least 10 grams of protein and there are also many sports nutrition shakes which can be used. There is no known figure for the optimal beverage formulation that will give the athlete enough CHO and protein and will thus meet the total requirement of the athlete.

The promotion of both Gatorade and PowerAde are based on the claim that they meet the needs of the athlete, but there is no proof of that. One can say however that they are helpful to the athletes when they have finished a round of exercise, but there is no scientific proof that one is superior or inferior to the other. The claims of both depend on the athletes whom they use for promotion of their images.

Scientifically it has been seen that high carbohydrate meals that are taken 3 to 4 hours before a planned session of heavy exercise ideally should result in increasing the capacity of the person for exercise as compared to his fasting or consuming meals which contain only low amount of carbohydrates. When there are prolonged sessions for training or competition, there is likely to be benefits from drinking any well formulated sports drink in small quantities and that means about 150 ml in intervals of 20 minutes. This would help recovery to start immediately as soon as exercise ends. Thus it is essential that one takes advantage of the speed of glycogen restoration through the consumption of 50 grams of carbohydrate at the start of recovery and with gaps of 1 or 2 hours till the next meal is taken.

It is essential that the team doctor or physic defines the amount of carbohydrate that must be taken to complete recovery within 24 hours. Generally the level of carbohydrates that are required is about 10 grams per kilo of body weight during that 24-hour period. These should also be of the type containing high-glycemic-index carbohydrate foods.

This cannot be provided by the sports drinks that exist as they are all similar to Gatorade. The drinks are packed with electrolytes of potassium, calcium, and sodium so that the concerned person has the ability to go through workouts. Competitors like Cytomax, Allsport and Accelerade are also similar in constitution. There are sometimes different add-ons to the drink like choline, creatine or other material. These will not make any difference to professionals as they are the only ones to care whether they finish one-tenth or one-hundredth of a second faster than the rest of the competition in the field.

These types of specialized drinks are useful for individuals who run very competitive races like the Boston Marathon. The important matter for athletes is to drink something every 15 to 20 minutes and when that is not possible due to the nature of the game, and then the efforts of drinking have to be completed before the game starts.

Thus one can clearly see that there is a regular requirement for fluids and that can be fulfilled in many methods. No particular drink is superior to another, but both Gatorade and PowerAde are trying there best to convince the general public that their drinks are the best for being competitive. For the general public, who participate only in local competition, it does not really matter what they drink, but the efforts of these giants is to use stars and convince them that they will perform their best if they take that drink.

The efforts at promotion go to the extent of studies not showing their results correctly and this is done by saying that a study proves that a supplement is active when it is really not known. This is done by giving a group of people some nutrients for a period of six weeks and testing their timings before and after the period. It is seen that their times have improved, but it was not tested whether these individuals were deficient in that nutrient to start with. In most of such cases, it is also possible to change the diets of the individuals to solve this shortcoming, and that is also not mentioned. In another case a group who are deficient are mentioned as being deficient and given a special supplement while they train for six weeks. Tests conducted before and after the six-week period show that their performance has improved.

The main point that is not mentioned is that the persons whose performance improved were untrained individuals before they started, and training anybody for six weeks is going to improve their performance. Most of these supplements contain material that is legally permitted but even the list of products mentioned may not be complete. Thus some products have been noted to contain materials that were not legally permitted. Some of the other items in the product may not be illegal in themselves, but cause changes to the body that are not permitted. One example is products that cause the increase of testosterone production in the body. The results of many of the items in such products have not been scientifically tested. At the same time, companies keep on advertising that the products contain material that are absolutely safe, when there are many question marks.

At the same time, many of the troubles of sportsmen are not proven and one of these is sports anemia. The apparent anemia happens due to increases in plasma volume which is required for aerobic fitness. What the problem is exists in female athletes and that is iron deficiency anemia. Another major problem in this area has been the use of Epos for blood boosting. In spite of the item have been banned, many endurance athletes still continue to use this item for boosting their blood and thus improving their endurance.

These chemicals are however available in highly specialized drinks and do not come in items like PowerAde or Gatorade. The main constituent of PowerAde is B-vitamin enhanced formula and provides high quantities of carbohydrates — 8%. The types of Vitamin b that are available are of B3, B6, and B12. It is said that these vitamins help in boosting up the energy levels. The product also has eight great flavors of Mountain Blast, Fruit Punch, Black Cherry Lime, Lemon-Lime, Arctic Shatter, Green Squall, Jagged Ice, Orange, and in select markets, Mango and Strawberry Melon. This was first launched as a fountain beverage in the year 1990 and then became a ready to drink thirst quencher from 1992. Over a period of time, the different flavors have been introduced. (PowerAde facts)

Well the industry of sports drinks has taken off from the time Gatorade was invented in 1965 by Robert Cade, who was a University of Florida kidney specialist.

Thus the high market share enjoyed by Gatorade is to some extent because of the longer duration that it has been on the market. Comparatively, the other brand has got the power of Coca Cola behind it and that helps it to boost its image. The entire battle of the two brands is in terms of image while the principal constituents are similar and effects are similar. One can also say that the effects of drinking both the brands will be similar. In a blind test, apart from flavors, it would be difficult to judge any other difference. For sportsmen, they probably provide the same benefits, which can be said to be marginal at best, unless the game concerned is at a high level. The entire marketing issue is one of developing images.


Certain exercises are really pointless and what is being sold in those cases is not the product but the images of the products. There are attempts to change images through the use of symbols for the product that are exposed to the public and in this case it is through the stars that are shown to be using the product. It is doubtful to say whether these have any real effect.


Anemia and Blood Boosting. Sports Science Exchange. Vol: 14; No: 2; 1998. Retrieved from http://www.gssiweb.com/reflib/refs/276/sse81.cfm?pid=38 Accessed 21 September, 2005

Davis, Jeanie, Lerche. Sports Drinks Go Way beyond Gatorade. 19 April, 2002. Retrieved from http://my.webmd.com/content/article/18/1676_55034.htm Accessed 21 September, 2005

Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from www.wolverineaquatics.com/New/parents/Articles%20for%20parents/Dietary%20Supplements.doc Accessed 22 September, 2005

Gibala, Martin. J. The Role of Protein in Promoting Recovery from Exercise. Retrieved from http://www.gssiweb.com/reflib/refs/692/sports_science_news_protein.cfm?pid=38 Accessed 21 September, 2005

POWERade facts. Retrieved from http://www.nhra.com/apcm/templates/powerade.asp?articleid=2225& zoneid=83& navsource=about%20powerade Accessed 22 September, 2005

Rovell, Darren. PowerAde FLAVA23 hits shelves next month. 18 August, 2004. Retrieved from http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1861904 Accessed 22 September, 2005

The fuel of athletes. Retrieved from http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~wiscengr/april05/sportsdrinks.shtml

Accessed 22 September, 2005

Williams, Clyde; Nicholas, Ceri W. Nutrition Needs for Team Sport. Sports Science Exchange.

Vol: 11. No: 3; 1998. Retrieved from http://www.gssiweb.com/reflib/refs/43/d000000020000022d.cfm?pid=38

Accessed 21 September, 2005

Darren, Rovell. PowerAde FLAVA23 hits shelves next month. 18 August, 2004. Retrieved fromhttp://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1861904 Accessed 22 September, 2005

Darren, Rovell. PowerAde FLAVA23 hits shelves next month. 18 August, 2004.

Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from http://www.wolverineaquatics.com/New/parents/Articles%20for%20parents/Dietary%20Supplements.doc

Accessed 22 September, 2005

Martin. J. Gibala. The Role of Protein in Promoting Recovery from Exercise. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gssiweb.com/reflib/refs/692/sports_science_news_protein.cfm?pid=38 Accessed 21 September, 2005

Clyde, Williams; Ceri W. Nicholas. Nutrition Needs for Team Sport. Sports Science Exchange.

Vol: 11. No: 3; 1998. Retrieved from http://www.gssiweb.com/reflib/refs/43/d000000020000022d.cfm?pid=38

Accessed 21 September, 2005

Clyde, Williams; Ceri W. Nicholas. Nutrition Needs for Team Sport. Sports Science Exchange.

Vol: 11. No: 3; 1998.

Jeanie, Lerche, Davis. Sports Drinks Go Way beyond Gatorade. 19 April, 2002. Retrieved fromhttp://my.webmd.com/content/article/18/1676_55034.htm Accessed 21 September, 2005

Jeanie, Lerche, Davis. Sports Drinks Go Way beyond Gatorade. 19 April, 2002.

Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from http://www.wolverineaquatics.com/New/parents/Articles%20for%20parents/Dietary%20Supplements.doc

Accessed 22 September, 2005

Dietary Supplements. Retrieved from http://www.wolverineaquatics.com/New/parents/Articles%20for%20parents/Dietary%20Supplements.doc

Accessed 22 September, 2005

Anemia and Blood Boosting. Sports Science Exchange. Vol: 14; No: 2; 1998. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gssiweb.com/reflib/refs/276/sse81.cfm?pid=38 Accessed 21 September, 2005

The fuel of athletes. Retrieved fromhttp://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~wiscengr/april05/sportsdrinks.shtml

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