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Creative Director’s Choice: Alyssa Toro of Connelly Partners on Gatorade's 'Secret to Victory'

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the current work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they think are making a difference. Each week The Drum is featuring the words of a creative director or other top creative on the work they find funny, powerful or otherwise engaging.

This week, Alyssa Toro, chief creative officer at Connelly Partners, gives her take on a recent Gatorade campaign featuring sports stars saying how defeat motivates them.

"You really want to know the secret to victory? Defeat. Make defeat your fuel."

When I first saw ‘The Secret to Victory’ on TV, I stopped. It's been a long time that an ad has made me stop, since we pay attention to this content all day while we create, analyze and are inspired by the work that's out there. Very seldom do we have the time to be an objective consumer.

When I saw this ad, however, I was not only a creative director, I was a mom teaching my kids who are passionate about their sport to fight through the tough lessons that feel so crippling at 9 and 14 years old, but are so light compared to life's realities. I also watched as a former athlete, knowing exactly what it feels like to be beaten and motivated to get better. Or what it feels like to lose a pitch for that matter. Ending on Matt Ryan, after what happened with the timely and so bold for him (and Gatorade) to put it out there.

So many ads tug at emotional heartstrings. There's a ton of videos and content right now that feel of the moment, shareable and addressing the heaviness of what's going on in the world. Sadly, that's becoming wallpaper too. We often turn to sports for entertainment and to create that bond with something that, on the surface, appears meaningful, but in reality is not. However, when you can turn a seemingly typical sport drink ad into one that talks about the motivating factor behind heartbreaking (in perspective) loss, you've tapped into a human truth that creates empathy.

This stopped me as if I was a consumer, and a mom, who didn't work in this industry at all.

Alyssa Toro is chief creative officer at Connelly Partners in Boston.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, please visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien at

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