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Almost four months ago now, I blogged about the filing of the Gatorade v. Powerade false advertising and trademark dilution lawsuit, here. At the time, some called Gatorade’s false advertising claims “dubious” and others chided Gatorade for biting Powerade’s bait to file suit.

Advertising Age has now reported about the recent court ruling addressing Gatorade’s request for an emergency preliminary injunction, here. For those of you who have been looking for a copy of the court’s interesting 54-page decision, it is available, here.

As you will see, the Court’s opening paragraph telegraphed its critical view of Gatorade’s claims:

This is a case about an advertising battle between two major consumer products companies over one company’s comparison of its beverage to human sweat. That company advertises its beverage by promoting its inclusion of certain electrolytes contained in sweat, and its competitor wants it to stop.

In short, G got an F in the courtroom. First, G failed to prove that any of the challenged statements were false or establish it was entitled to the requested emergency injunctive relief while the case works its way toward trial. Second, U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl also found “frivolous” certain of G’s arguments relating to alleged irreparable harm. Last, G appeared to frustrate the Court by ignoring it made similar advertising statements about its own Gatorade Endurance Formula product, as late as a week before filing suit against Powerade. The “pot calling the kettle black” never plays well in the courtroom. I wonder who is doing the sweating now.


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The makers of Gatorade® apparently like to engage consumers by asking questions. They used to ask, “Is it in You?” The “it” being Gatorade®, of course. Most recently, Gatorade® has embarked on a massive teaser ad campaign — apparently to re-brand Gatorade® — asking, “What is G?” — a question that begs answering in the mysterious ads.

You might be interested to know that trial attorneys are taught not to ask questions — at trial — if they don’t know the answer. A related and good rule of thumb for marketers might be: Don’t ask a question, if you don’t know and — perhaps more importantly — if you can’t own the answer.

This may be especially good advice when competitors and other sellers of related products are able to truthfully answer the question posed in their favor, and “steal your thunder,” or perhaps “lightning,” as the case may be. For example, just picture the makers of these beverage products collectively raising their glasses in answer to Gatorade’s bold question “What is G”?

G by G PURE ENERGY already is a federally registered trademark for an energy drink.

G already is a federally registered trademark for bottled water too.

G is a trademark approved for publication by the U.S. Trademark Office for soft drinks.

G3 is a federally registered trademark for fruit juice, not to be confused with Gatorade’s G2.

G5 is a federally registered trademark for soft drinks, again, not to be confused with G2.

G JUICE already is a federally registered trademark for sports drinks and other beverages.

G is a proposed trademark allowed by the U.S. Trademark Office for fruit drinks.

G ENERGY MADE FOR WOMEN is a federally registered trademark for fruit drinks.

ELIXIR G is a federally registered trademark for non-alcoholic cocktail mixes.

“EROTIC G-SPOT DRINK” is a federally registered trademark for sports and isotonic drinks.

ENERGIZING GIMME A G has been approved for publication as a trademark for energy drinks.

G GLEUKOS is a federally registered trademark for sports drinks.

Gee Whiz . . . and there are more Gs where these came from, but I think you get the point.

For more of a marketing critique of Gatorade’s alpha-truncation-re-brand, continue after the jump.


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