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Crain’s Chicago Business reports that PepsiCo’s Gatorade unit will spend $30 million on product and packaging innovations that it hopes will bring “meaningful” change to the category.

According to the story, “As part of the new product introduction, the core Thirst Quencher and G2 lines will also receive another facelift, the second in just over a year.” The new packaging is described as being "more functional,” and will replace designs created by Peter Arnell - who also created new packaging for PepsiCo’s Tropicana brand that had to be replaced because of consumer confusion. “The redesigned graphics will more prominently feature a low-calorie message for the G2 brand, which will have its calories reduced to 20 per 8-ounce serving, from 25,” Crain’s writes. “A spokesman declined to comment on the redesign of the Thirst Quencher products beyond saying that the brand is committed to G, the logo it introduced last year.”

In addition, the story says, “New products will include Prime, which will be sold in 4-ounce pouches and come in three flavors. Prime is meant to be consumed just before exercise and includes carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. Recover, another new product, is meant to be used after exercise and will be sold in 16.9-ounce bottles, with three flavors and 16 grams of whey protein.”

Note: After this story was originally posted, Gatorade officials pointed out to both Crain’s and MNB that Peter Arnell had done the redesign work for Tropicana, but not for Gatorade. We regret the error.
KC's View:
Based on the behavior of one of Gatorade’s more prominent athlete/endorsers, maybe they also should include some saltpeter.

But joking aside, the Gatorade story raises a lot of issues about the importance of branding, especially in a company that apparently has made two significant missteps in the past year or so. We go through a fair amount of Gatorade in our household, but I have to say that very little that has been changed about the line has clarified what its role in an athlete’s life ought to be - in fact, the waters seem to have been muddied a bit.

Now, it sounds like the folks at Gatorade are working to change that...but they also run the risk of confusing consumers even more. And these developments - combined with the Tropicana debacle - tell a cautionary tale about how one has to nurture a brand.