Upping the game

Helping Gatorade fuel the future of athletic performance.


  • Client
  • Industry
    Consumer Goods
  • Services
    Customer Research, Service Design, Industrial Design, UX Design, Technical Development, Systems Engineering

The challenge

In 2014, Gatorade was on the eve of its 50th anniversary. As a global market leader, the company wanted to position itself for the future, innovate for its customers in areas such as sports science, and elevate its position as an elite brand for pro athletes.

So when the Brazilian National Football Team asked Gatorade to help them prepare for the World Cup, the goals aligned on a huge opportunity: How could this iconic brand leverage intuitive design, cutting-edge technology, and evolving sports science to boost Brazilian pro-athlete performance—and then apply key learnings to deliver personalized products and services at scale for everyday consumers? They turned to Smart Design to help them move the finish line on what’s possible.


The result

In less than six months, we designed, developed and built a prototype for a first-of-its-kind Sports Fuel Performance System for athletes and their coaches. Although the team didn’t end up winning the World Cup, the pilot opened up new doors for collaboration and innovation, leading to short- and long-term business impact for the company.


Video and animations courtesy of Gatorade's partner Kaicon (kaicontent.com)

Sweat. Fuel. Track. Go.

To help the Brazilian team prepare for the World Cup, Smart began working closely with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) who was researching heat stress and dehydration during exercise. A systemized approach was developed to test and analyze how each athlete sweats—how fast, how much and in what concentration.

Using the data gathered from the sweat tests, Smart then designed and built an integrated platform across multiple touch points to deliver personalized sports fuel recommendations for each athlete to help optimize their training.

As our lead innovation partner, Smart helped us expand beyond products and quickly identify the most meaningful offerings that extend our brand into the personalization space. The result has become PepsiCo’s new standard in using a design-led approach to shift from product to product/service ecosystems.

Xavi Cortadellas
Global Head of Innovation & Design, Gatorade

Upping our game
on hydration innovation

Using recent advances in sports science, the Gatorade Hydration System leverages emerging technology to deliver a high level of personalization and enhance athletic performance.

Personalized for everyone

In the world of elite sports, every last percent counts. The hydration platform is built on the hypothesis that personalization is the next frontier of improving athletic performance. Personalized fuel recommendations, custom packaging options, and live data tracking deliver functional and emotional benefits competitive athletes crave.

The science behind the sauce

The sports fuel delivery and tracking platform involved a complex degree of technical mechanical engineering, manufacturing, software development, and security requirements. Our teams worked to push the boundaries required to deliver connected multi-platform digital experiences — from embedded IoT devices and kiosk touchpoints to responsive web apps and even SMS messaging.

Thirsty for the long haul

The pilot was a success for the Gatorade brand on many levels, unlocking multiple opportunities for the company.

This is the future of athletic hydration. It's also the future of Gatorade.

Fast Company

Near Term

Boosted brand perception as an innovator through strategic
public relations and media placement.

Mid Term

Gave Gatorade a competitive edge in delivering professional athlete
services and developing new partnerships.

Long Term

Generated new direct to athlete e-commerce revenue stream through new
sports fuel pods and personalized bottles for consumers.

From pros to everyday athletes

Fast forward to 2018 and now we have over 20 professional teams across the globe using the digital platform. Everyday athletes can now also enjoy the benefits of Gx, with the much anticipated release of selected sports fuel formulas in pods, combined with a fully personalized squeeze bottle, available via Gatorade’s new direct-to-consumer channel at gatorade.com/gx.