Gatorade + Smart Design: Creating The Future Of Sport [PSFK 2016]

Gatorade + Smart Design: Creating The Future Of Sport [PSFK 2016]

Personalized hydration platforms promise to elevate pros and everyday athletes alike

Michelle Hum
  • 10 june 2016

What started as a mixture of water, salt, sugar, and lemon juice to aid the Florida Gators’ performance on the gridiron grew into a multinational brand that is a staple in all levels of sport. At PSFK’s annual conference in New York, Gatorade’s Xavi Cortadellas came to speak on realizing the future of sport through data-centric personalization along with Tucker Fort of Smart Design who helped make it happen.

In the world of sports, personalization is everywhere. From shoes to rackets, training regimes and more, elite athletes have increasingly been able to find the right equipment for them. When the Brazil National Football Team asked Gatorade to “help us win the World Cup,” Gatorade responded by creating and testing a personalized hydration platform for the team.

Although Brazil didn’t win the World Cup, the pilot was a success. “We proved the sports field personalization for a pro team was possible to do—players embraced the idea of personalization to have something unique to them, coaches got the performance advantage, and internally we proved that something we never did before was possible,” explained Cortadellas.

Gatorade Cap

Throughout the talk, Cortadellas emphasized the importance of approaching projects with an attitude around pilot testing. “Piloting builds empathy and inspiration,” he offered because there are some things that can only be found out in the field.

PSFK 2016 Xavi + Tucker 06

Smart Design’s Tucker Fort highlighted three main features the process unlocked:

1 – Packaging. After understanding the needs of elite athletes, Fort and his team settled on individual pods players could throw into their gym bags on the go. Unlike the powders, the pod minimizes any mistakes in water to Gatorade ratios. An unexpected finding was the desire for personalization from adding names to the tops to player numbers.

2 – Tracking. Smart Design is testing the concept of a single-use sweat patch athletes can wear that will track the amount and composition of sweat produced during a workout. The flow meter cap on the bottle measures the amount of liquid athletes are taking in and helps them stay on pace to keep their performance at an optimal level. By testing their algorithm with an actual team, Smart Design was able to quickly refine it to best help the team on a secure platform.

3 – Ecommerce.  By creating a direct, personalized experience for Gatorade, Smart Design also had to think about how to distribute this experience. Because the individual pods that were created are roughly 85 percent smaller than a bottle of Gatorade, there is an opportunity to distribute these more efficiently to teams around the world.

Gatorade Demo

Smart Design and Gatorade are expanding their test to professional teams across sports this summer. In the fall, they are also going to roll out some of the larger scale features like personalized bottles and nutrition pods to everyday athletes through ecommerce. As Gatorade and Smart Design continue to refine their platform, soon, they will be able to bring personalized hydration to everyone from pros to the everyday athlete.

GatoradeSmart Design


+personalized hydration platform
+PSFK 2016
+Smart Design

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