NEW YORK: Gatorade, the sports drink manufactured by PepsiCo, makes driving "brand love" one of the core goals behind its marketing communications.

Kenny Mitchell, Gatorade's Senior Director/Consumer Engagement, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Digital & Social Media Conference.

"When we look at communications, ours are intended to do two very, very simple things," he said. "One is to drive equity … to drive brand love," he reported. (For more, including further strategic insights, read Warc's exclusive report: How Gatorade uses multiplatform storytelling to drive brand love.)

The brand typically puts athletes at the heart of its marketing efforts, and utilises these high-performing sports stars to help emphasise attributes like its ongoing commitment to innovation.

An illustration of this idea in action is "Your Game is Our Lab", a future-focused content play featuring sprinter Usain Bolt, basketball player Elena Delle Donn and baseball all-star Bryce Harper.

"We are constantly looking to deliver unconventional and unique storytelling, and we are always thinking platform-first," Mitchell said.

These platforms can include anything from Snapchat activations where consumers pour virtual buckets of Gatorade over themselves in videos to virtual-reality experiences showing users what it is like to step onto the sports field.

"We have a certain approach to our communications which is to make sure that they are relevant, meaningful and smart," Mitchell told the ANA delegates.

More specifically, he reported that the acronym "CASE" – standing for "creative", "authentic", "strategic" and "emotional" – underpins Gatorade's marketing output.

And the strategic component should not be overlooked, Mitchell suggested, if its efforts are both to engage consumers and also boost business results.

"It's important for folks to know what the game plan is, putting people in a position to win, utilising talent the best way possible and keeping your team business-minded and focused," he said. "Beautiful work without a strategy is art … And we are not in the business of making art."

Data sourced from Warc