POWERADE

Building the technology-boosted future of the Powerade brand

CLIENT

Powerade

SERVICES

Strategic Research
Interaction Design
Product + Service Design

Transforming Powerade into a technology driven company that provides value to athletes of all types.

The Challenge

Powerade wanted us to help them compete with top sports drink brands like Gatorade, which has 10 times the budget of Powerade and is backed by a dedicated sports science research institution.

Our challenge was to identify strategies for the short, medium, and long term that would help Powerade grow from a campaign-focused brand into one powered by science and technology, ultimately becoming experts in athlete hydration and performance.

The Solution

We focused first on adding value to professional athletes, knowing that improving their performance through better hydration would establish credibility for Powerade at the highest levels of sports. Technologies developed for elite athletes trickle down and drive adoption amongst amateur athletes and fitness aficionados.

Our Approach

Understanding the spectrum of athletes

First, we interviewed athletes and support staff, and observed the behaviors and practices across the spectrum of professional athletes to amateurs. From this research we produced user journeys for each athlete type pinpoint their needs and challenges.
We then identified trends and new opportunities that could improve the lives and performance of these athletes. Out of this we proposed 9 concepts for the future of Powerade, built into a strategic roadmap of innovation that targeted solutions for the short, mid, and long term.

Short Term: Fifa World Cup Sports Bottle

Over six months, we designed and managed the production of a new Powerade bottle to build brand visibility during the FIFA World Cup. This began the connection between Powerade and technology.
Each bottle features colored rings to represent the 32 teams, adding customization for the players. Throughout the FIFA World Cup, Powerade used the team bottles to represent each match, and boost visibility on social media with their campaign #PowerThrough.

Brand visibility is boosted through illuminated Powerade logos on the sides of the bottle, using printed LED technology. As players drink, the logos animate to represent the flow of energy. #PowerThrough is printed on the bottom, encouraging engagement with Powerade on social media during breaks in play while athletes are hydrating.

Additionally, we designed special sports bottle packaging that celebrated the winners of the FIFA World Cup with gold bottles and gold-trimmed packaging. A frosted insert bears the names of the winning players. These were placed in the champions’ locker room, surprising them when they returned victorious from the field.

Mid Term: Powerade Bottle Tower

After the success of the illuminated sports bottle, we shifted focus to making things easier for trainers and team staff. For this we designed a new type of bottle carrier to help trainers efficiently transport hydration for the whole team and keep Powerade cold throughout a game or event.

The Powerade Cooling Tower holds 18 sports bottles on a wheeled, upright cooler. An internal chamber holds ice, and aluminum bottle holders quickly transfer heat away from bottles, ensuring the liquid inside is cold and refreshing.
Large tires on the Cooling Tower prevent damage to the field of play so team staff can get hydration where it’s needed most. Hooks on the back of the Cooling Tower provide storage for sports equipment so trainers can transport more equipment at a time.

The Powerade Bottle Towers have been used in many major sports events and professional teams since they were first produced.
In many events, the towers were only authorized for use during practice and off the field but trainers and coaches found them so useful that they brought them onto the field during televised matches. This further boosted Powerade’s presence, and secured Powerade as a brand focused on adding value to professional sports.

Long Term: Powerade Command Center

We wanted to tackle a bigger challenge: personalized hydration to boost athlete performance. To do this, we developed a new platform for coaches and trainers, and connected it to non-invasive sensors and Coca-Cola Freestyle technology to provide data-driven hydration solutions tailored to individual athletes.
The Powerade Command Center takes measurements from multiple sensors to determine an athlete’s hydration level and deficiencies. This is fed into a cloud-based platform where trainers and physiologists determine each athlete’s hydration needs. These combine with the athlete’s taste preferences to generate the unique Powerade formula, and dispense it using Freestyle technology.

We worked across engineering and design to prototype the Command Center at multiple stages. We developed a low fidelity proof of concept, showing the link between sensors, a dispenser, and powered by a digital platform.
From this we developed a fully functional Command Center using more advanced sensors, a cloud platform, and integrated with Freestyle technology to produce custom Powerade formulas. This was tested with professional international sports teams and current is being piloted at LSU and sports teams around the world.

Impact

Since the first project, Powerade has leveraged major sporting events to showcase their latest developments in field of play technology and improving performance through hydration, including the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups, the 2016 Olympic Games, the Confederations Cup, Euro 2016, and the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

More Work