As advertisers and marketers take to New York City this week, Gatorade used its AdWeek New York time to announce its first scripted series and a partnership with media network, Awesomeness, who will create the content.
In a six-episode series called Versus, the series will feature girl lacrosse players, with the hope of creating a compelling story and supporting young women in sports.
During the session, titled “Creating Content to Inspire a Generation,” Kenny Mitchell, head of consumer engagement at Gatorade, brought attention to the company’s research and the statistic that girls, ages 7-18, quit sports at a rate of 1.4 times compared with boys the same age.
Mitchell noted the company has researched behind the driving factors for the dropout rate. Approximately one quarter of young girls cited body image and 68% of respondents cited the need to refocus on academics or social life as their reason for dropping sports.
“There’s no ‘Friday Night Lights’ for girls,” Mitchell said. “The leadership skills you develop, the collaboration and teamwork, learning how to win and learning how to lose, all of those things are important.”
With shows like “This is Summer” and “T@gged,” Awesomeness is honing on the Generation Z age demographic. Kelly Day, chief business officer, Awesomeness noted that this generation is different from their millennial counterparts. They crave authenticity. They are hardworking. They prefer to online shop. And that they’re the largest generation since the Baby Boomers.
“We really focus on storytelling,” Day said. “This audience doesn’t really respond well to traditional media and traditional advertising.”
She added that in addition to knowing the demographic, that the team at Awesomeness “really know how to create these authentic stories.”
For this series, “Versus” focuses on two rival lacrosse players, Madison, played by Camille Hyde, and Lauren, played by Maddie McCormick, who are forced to play on the same team in a big summer tournament attended by major college prospects.
“Lacrosse for us was actually partially birthed out of the desire to be unexpected,” Mitchell said. “What we love about lacrosse is that it’s one of the fastest growing sports across the board.”
Throughout the series, the girls must learn how to confront their personal conflicts and come together for the love of the game.
“We like to tell authentic stories that really mean something to this audience and then we distribute these stories across a whole variety of platforms,” Day said. “With Versus, we are going to be distributing it through our partnership with Verizon’s go90.”
The six 30-minute episodes will be distributed on go90 —following Verizon’s 2016 buy-in for a 24.5% stake of the company — and will be teased on social media, including an episode teaser on YouTube.