MIAMI: Gatorade, the sports drink owned by PepsiCo, has picked up the Grand Prix at the 2010 Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence, thanks to a campaign developed by TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Organised by industry body the 4A's, the annual competition seeks to honour "brilliant strategic thinking" around the world in 11 different categories.

The judging panel handed the top prize to Gatorade's "Story of Second Chances", discussed in greater detail by Geoffrey Precourt, Warc's US editor, here.

The big idea behind this effort saw two high-school football teams replay a match that had originally ended in a tie over a decade previously.

Andrew Delbridge, chief strategy officer of McKinney and chair of the 2010 Jay Chiat Strategy Festival, argued this platform revealed "a powerful manifestation of strategy."

"It's a bright, fresh example of how strategic-driven advertising in the current environment can be more imaginative that anyone would have guessed just a few years ago," he said.

"It's a campaign that made all the judges envious. We'd all love to have it on our reels."

The "Story of Second Chances" resulted from research by TBWA\Chiat\Day showing consumption of Gatorade typically peaked between the ages of 18 and 21 years old.

It also found increasing numbers of people turned to Gatorade not during exercise, but while playing video games and watching TV, indicative of a general declining interest in fitness.

"We were in danger of becoming the drink of the sedentary," said Scott MacMaster, group planning director at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles.

Such a trend similarly applied to Gatorade's marketing, which relied on celebrity endorsement for achieving engagement.

"After 43 years, the brand had started to slow down," said MacMaster. "It seemed to be a little heavy - not as sharp as it used to be."

Having identified a 1993 game featuring two teams from New Jersey – culminating with a missed field goal in the last minute – the agency set about locating all the players who appeared.

"Fueling second chances offered the perfect role to demonstrate Gatorade's prowess no matter what age you are, no matter what stage you are in your athletic career," said Martin Ramos, TBWA\Chiat\Day's planning director.

"It was more than advertising," he added. "It was something delightful and inspiring."

An online diary built buzz surrounding the event, with 10,000 tickets selling out in hours, alongside considerable media coverage from TV networks and national newspapers also being secured.

This idea has now formed the basis of a documentary series, while Gatorade's next formal iteration of the campaign will include rival basket ball teams from Chicago.

Data sourced from Warc