Last Wednesday, May 27, the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in a Major League Baseball game at Wrigley Field here in Chicago. What does this have to do with beverages? Keep reading!
You see, in the 7th inning, Nyjer Morgan of the Pirates scored, avoiding a tag at home plate by Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Umpire Mark Carlson called the player safe at home, which Zambrano highly disagreed with. A shouting match started between player and umpire, resulting in Zambrano shoving the umpire. Per MLB rules, this results in an automatic ejection from the game.
Now Zambrano is a great pitcher, but is also quite a hot head. He didn’t take being thrown out of the game lightly. As he headed into the dugout, he grabbed a bat and started hitting the Gatorade dispenser, breaking it in parts. The Chicago Tribune reported that the machine had been repaired just 24 hours earlier after Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster punched it. Watch video via MLB.com to see the “Gatorade attack” as it played out!
This season, the Gatorade machine replaced the standard water coolers you typically find in baseball dugouts. It was an innovative play for PepsiCo, giving them some nice branding with the orange background and the new “G” Gatorade logo there to be seen on television. In addition, it provided quick access to multiple flavors and water.
I have a friend, Nick Rosario, who works in the commissary operations at Wrigley Field. He was able to provide me with a list of the 6 options found in this Gatorade fountain.
The flavors are, from left to right:
- Gatorade Lemon-Lime
- Gatorade Fruit Punch
- Gatorade Lemon-Lime
After the attack by Zambrano, the machine was repaired. However, it’s last game was Sunday, May 31. The Tribune reports that the Gatorade fountain is being pulled out of the dugout, and the old water dispenser will be returned in its place.
It was a sad end for this beverage branding opportunity… and so short lived. But you just know that despite the outcome, PepsiCo loved all the promotion they got out of this string of events. Imagine if this was Coke’s VitaminWater brand. Would it have had the same effect?