Gatorade Looks For Bolt From Usain

Usain Bolt/Jimmy Fallon on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Gatorade's top marketing executive said Wednesday that Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has the potential to be the next breakout star in the company's long line of blue-chip endorsers that includes Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

One reason: his name that dovetails with Gatorade's "bolt" logo -- which could offer a "That's Bolt" twist on the current "That's G" campaign. But his charisma and endearing personality also put him in line.

"He just has such a pure relaxed approach to what he's trying to do," said Sarah Robb O'Hagan, Gatorade's CMO, at an industry event.

Bolt is the world's fastest man and the 23-year-old should continue to set world records and add to his gold medal haul at the London Olympics in 2012.

He also appears to be sponsor-friendly, appearing Sept. 29 on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" with a Puma-branded jacket.



Separately, O'Hagan said in an interview that Gatorade remains committed to tennis star Serena Williams as a member of its endorser roster, despite a well-publicized, distasteful outburst at the U.S. Open last month.

"We're standing by her -- absolutely," she said. "Everyone has their bad days. She did exactly what she should -- she apologized."

No sponsors have severed relationships with the multi-time Grand Slam champion.

O'Hagan also said Gatorade is satisfied with its linking with mixed-martial-arts fighter Georges St. Pierre.

Well-known brands have been slow to embrace MMA, and Gatorade does not have a deal with the UFC. But its Canadian marketing group signed Montreal native St. Pierre to an endorsement deal earlier this year, and he has appeared in a "G Moment" spot in Canada.

O'Hagan said Gatorade opted to dip its toe into MMA looking to appeal to its "deeply passionate" fan base. "I don't know that I can say that has translated into sales among that community yet, but we'll continue to track it," she said.

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