Gatorade skates into an Ambush

The sports drink is connecting with skateboarders as the sponsor of the Ambush Tour, encouraging participants and spectators to upload skate videos, photos and blogs on a branded microsite.

In a video posted on Gatorade’s branded microsite for skateboarders,, pro skater Sean Malto is seen stacking the fridge in his trailer with the sports drink before taking off on a road trip. Gatorade is also seen throughout the shots of the athlete and his skating friends busting moves around the city.

As the sponsor of the Ambush Tour, a skateboarding event that will travel to skate parks in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal this summer, the brand is focusing its media strategy on promoting the events online, as it wants to encourage a conversation with the key members of this demographic, says Julie Raheja-Perera, director of marketing, PepsiCo Beverages Canada.

‘ was the right vehicle to reach skaters in Canada,’ Raheja-Perera says. ‘We’re focused on blog entries and rich media, created by skaters for skaters. We’re also encouraging Canadians to upload their own photos, videos and comments about the Ambush Tour.’

OMD handled the media buy for promotion of the tour, which also includes online advertising running on some of Canada’s biggest skate sites. It will also be promoted through media and blogger relations handled by High Road Communications. Toronto-based SDI Marketing is running Ambush and handling the talent.The media plan also includes a sponsorship with Vice’s, which will feature a Gatorade-sponsored documentary on Canadian skateboarding this fall.

This is Gatorade’s first involvement in the ‘action sports’ community, says Raheja-Perera, and the reason it was important for the brand to get involved with the Ambush Tour is because skateboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, she adds.

‘This is truly a grassroots tour, bringing Sean Malto and Chaz Ortiz to skate alongside the locals who are at those parks every day. That’s why conversational media is so important to us as well as partnering with the right outlet to reach just the right audience,’ Raheja-Perera says.

With files from Katie Bailey