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.