Coke’s Powerade launches Olympic blitz with mental health spin

It’s Olympics year once again and the world’s biggest brands are gearing up to say something different (they’ve said quite a lot in the past after all) and one of the first out of the blocks in gymnast Simone Biles for Coca-Cola’s Powerade. From WPP’s OpenX.

‘Pause is power’ it says, a reference to Biles pulling out of the last Tokyo Olympics for mental health reasons, the inspiration, it seems, for Powerade’s ‘Pause is power’ brand platform.

Here she goes (we hope.)

The pressure on elite athletes in any sport is ferocious although, some might argue, so are the rewards for putting up with it. Powerade has a veritable football team of athletes we can expect to see performing at the Olympics.

Powerade says: “Powerade partners are all athletes and have shown they’re taking a pause is not an act of weakness, but rather a powerful undertaking, that helps you go even further. And that’s why we featuring their personal stories in this campaign. For them to have taken a pause to come back stronger, and it really resonates with the tribe, and the humans that we connecting with.”

One doesn’t doubt for a moment Biles’ mental health issues and the grit needed to overcome them. But mental health is becoming a 21st century cliché, it’s the supposed driver of all sorts of behaviour. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Netflix-funded ‘victimhood’ is perhaps it’s most high profile example.

At some point consumers might find themselves asking of all these folks: “life is tough sometimes, just get on with it.” Some brands, trying to find a deeper purpose in, say, a sports drink might bear this in mind.

MAA creative scale: 5.

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