The Gatorade shower is one of the greatest examples of “free publicity” in this history of the phrase.
Think about it: Gatorade’s brand is associated with some of sports’ greatest victories. Every Super Bowl, World Series or NCAA Championship all end in a shower of neon sugar water dumped from that ubiquitous orange bucket emblazoned with the Gatorade logo.
But Gatorade’s free publicity forays don’t always go as planned (or unplanned, as the case may be).
In the MLB one-game Wild Card playoff between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates, it was a tale of two brand uses for Gatorade. The first was classic: On the front page of ESPN.com, the Cubs players celebrated their 4-0 victory with a shower of orange-flavored goodness:
The brand is synonymous with victory. Genius!
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On the other hand, most of the conversation from the game centered on an incident involving Pirates’ first baseman Sean Rodriguez. He took out his frustrations on an unsuspecting Gatorade cooler:
Love a good baseball fight! pic.twitter.com/dYyagSV03Z
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 8, 2015
— MLB Memes (@MLBMeme) October 8, 2015
— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) October 8, 2015
Who would have thought all we would have after the Wild Card game is Gatorade memes? pic.twitter.com/Q4BGnVv99j
— Mikey (@fsmikey) October 8, 2015
The cooler itself even got its own Twitter handle. Within 16 hours, it had nearly 7,800 followers:
.@seanjrodriguez1 do we have a problem here?
— Pirates Water Cooler (@piratescooler) October 8, 2015
Plenty of people took note of the free publicity for Gatorade:
Gotta love that Gatorade is trending. Can’t beat the free publicity generated by having one of your products destroyed in the dugout #Cubs
— Brad Weiner (@brad_weiner) October 8, 2015
@Gatorade has got to be pleased with all the free publicity Sean Rodriguez game them tonight.
— Shawn Crull (@Shawn_Crull) October 8, 2015
Gatorade didn’t step in with any tweets, though. Some said the brand missed an opportunity to capitalize:
Gatorade got a lot of free publicity and recognition tonight and their social media team didn’t take advantage of the moment. Womp womp.
— Anthony DiPiero (@AnthonyDiPiero7) October 8, 2015
Perhaps Gatorade’s Mission Control had the night off.