Remember the Cola Wars, with Coke and Pepsi battling it out year after year for supremacy in the soft-drink market? Or what about the Burger Wars, the legendary slugfests between McDonald's and Burger King? Then of course, there were the Sports Drink Wars. If you blinked, you might have missed them, because Gatorade has swiftly and decisively fended off every would-be rival.
Although a few other brands hold slim market shares, the fact is that Gatorade single-handedly created the sports drink industry 40 years ago and has absolutely ruled it ever since. But Gatorade is more than just a triumph of branding. First, it's a trusted product that has been scientifically proven to do what it claims to do. Second, Gatorade is an enthralling story, brought to life in bright color and sharp detail in First in Thirst.
Author Darren Rovell, a skilled, objective, and passionate journalist, chronicles every astonishing milestone of the company's history. With unprecedented access to the inventors, the marketers, the analysts, and observers, and key company figures past and present, Rovell recounts the sweat-drenched University of Florida football practices, the first (unpalatable) prototypes, and the commercial and financial interest that quickly took hold following the drink's first on-field successes. Then came the advertising, sponsorships, product placements (many of them fortuitous), and finally the two milestones that cemented Gatorade's iconic status once and for all -- the ubiquitous Gatorade bath and the Michael Jordan "Be Like Mike" endorsement deal.
With refreshing candor, First in Thirst also offers an inside look at the negotiations, battles, lawsuits, mergers and acquisitions, product strategies, lucky breaks, and even the missteps (there have not been many) that have attended Gatorade's reign as the 800-pound gorilla of the sports-drink scene.
It's interesting, but it's pretty much all about marketing for the drink. I was hoping for a bit more, like In-N-Out Burger by Stacy Perman, but this book is too structure, where you feel that you are reading a text book for an prerequisite to get into the program in advertising.
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would recommend this book to many people who are interested in sports and sports performance. Gatorade was and is (there are many forms available only to sport teams or on their website) designed for fluid replacement. It's not for sipping while eating your sandwich at lunch. The science behind the drink is very interesting along with the personalities of the doctors that developed the drink.
What was one of the most memorable moments of First in Thirst?
There isn't one in particular but a pattern that shows up throughout the book and the timeline/history about how much athletes truly believe in and use this product. Even if they are sponsored by another drink company.
Which scene was your favorite?
The story about the lawsuit between the University of Florida and the Gatorade Trust. Dr. Cade is a huge personality!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I did, but it wasn't laughing or crying. I found the marketing of Gatorade part of the book was far too detailed and was tedious to listen to. I almost gave up on the book, but was happy I didn't after that section was finished.
I really enjoyed this. Gatorade succeeded because of equal parts luck and good strategy. I found this book more enjoyable than I imagined. It gets a little repetitive towards the end, but if you like a good success story, you'll love this.