Case Study

How Gatorade ran it back to ’98 with #Game6Live

Key results

positive sentiment1

higher mention volume3

Live Event Page views2

The opportunity

In a year marked by postponed sports seasons, the biggest sports cultural event wasn’t a championship series. It was ESPN’s The Last Dance, which rekindled the world’s love affair with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. 

The success of The Last Dance also presented an opportunity for Gatorade. Its “Be Like Mike” ad campaign of the 1990s forever made Gatorade synonymous with “His Airness.”

Gatorade was not an official sponsor of “The Last Dance,” So how could the brand connect to the show’s phenomenon to drive relevance among sports fans?

The strategy

Gatorade turned back the clock all the way to 1998. The brand partnered with the NBA to livestream Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. By doing so during a live sports hiatus, Gatorade gave fans the chance to relive the fun and excitement of the Chicago Bulls’ final title run.

Here’s how Gatorade turned to Twitter to stay in the conversation while also providing fans a whole new way to witness sports history.

  • Video on Twitter
  • Case Study
  • North America


Reintroduce an iconic commercial featuring today’s basketball superstars

To build enthusiasm for the upcoming livestream, Gatorade debuted a new version of the “Be Like Mike” commercial, this time including clips of the new NBA and WNBA stars of today.


Use Branded Emojis to help get the conversation buzzing

Gatorade also created a branded emoji for #Game6Live. The emoji, a bottle of Gatorade’s popular Citrus Cooler flavor, was another piece of nostalgia that resonated with people on Twitter and helped ramp up the conversation surrounding #Game6Live.


Get sports fans pumped for #Game6Live livestream with Brand Reminders

Leading up to the #Game6Live livestream, Gatorade targeted sports fans using Brand Reminders, giving fans the opportunity to opt in for notifications for the livestream’s tip-off.


Host a once-in-a-lifetime NBA watch party

To create a basketball watch party like no other, the NBA and Gatorade invited fans to watch the #Game6Live livestream on the Live Event Page with basketball superstars — and Gatorade partners — Sue Bird and Zach Lavine. Gatorade and the NBA also turned up the 1990s vibes by tabbing, the original sideline reporter of the 1998 NBA finals, to co-host the livestream from his handle @NBATVAhmad.


Reach sports fans with premium content by using Amplify pre-roll

Gatorade raised the conversation by running pre-roll ads for the game that brought in some 90s flair to the messaging for the watch party.


Capitalize on celebrity athlete participants and their Twitter fanbases

Gatorade enlisted players to live Tweet the watch party, amplifying reach to their fanbases.


Maintain engagement with the audience during the event

To keep the livewatch audience engaged, Gatorade kept the conversation going with real-time Tweets and encouraged fan participation with a Twitter poll.


Continue branding after the event with Amplify

When the livestream came to a close, Gatorade kept top-of-mind consideration by running pre-roll over highlights from Game 6. This helped drive brand association with the livestream.


Maintain momentum from the watch party with replays

Using Amplify once again, Gatorade took advantage of the big fan turnout for the Livestream by running pre-roll ads over replays of #Game6Live to keep the conversation going and increase viewership.

The success

As Gatorade would find out, reliving the 1998 NBA Finals more than made up for the absence of live sports for sports fans. In fact, #Game6Live outperformed similar livestreams, bringing it 3.2x more views on the Live Event Page. The livestream also had 5x higher mention volume during the campaign compared to three days prior. Overall, the campaign scored a 96% positive-to-neutral sentiment.

Beyond the metrics, Gatorade’s #Game6Live brought much-needed excitement to a universe of fans hungry for live sports. It also helped people not just experience the glory years of the Chicago Bulls, but in many cases relive happy childhood memories during a time when everyone wanted to “Be Like Mike.” 

“Gatorade exists to help athletes get better. Simply put, our mission is to fuel athletic performance from training to practice to game day. That’s where partners like Twitter come in, to help us reach athletes in a compelling way so that we’re fueling their minds and their bodies. The sports community on Twitter specifically is incredibly important for Gatorade to connect with, because they are some of the most intense and rabid fans. At the end of the ‘Last Dance’ documentary, we partnered with the NBA to re-air Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals live on Twitter and lean into one more bit of engaging content that our athletes and NBA fans could really get excited about. The activation itself was watching the game live, but then we went one step further and engaged with former players and sportscasters to create a conversation around Game 6 Live all aggregated under a custom hashtag with a Gatorade emoji. We were thrilled with the end result.” Jill Abbott (@JillSeibs), Head of Consumer and Athlete Engagement, Gatorade.

1.  Crimson Hexagon, May 17-19, 2020
2. Similar branded livestreams on Twitter in May 2020
3. Twitter Internal, May 14-17, 2020

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