To educate high school football players on the methods for and importance of avoiding dehydration, Gatorade created “Beat the Blitz,” an immersive VR experience featuring legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
Over 50 years ago, Gatorade was invented to hydrate football players at the University of Florida in the heat of summer. Football players may now know what Gatorade is but they still know very little about the warning signs of dehydration or how it can affect their performance. Indeed, studies show high school football players are more likely to suffer from dehydration than other athletes. Given this unfortunate situation, Gatorade needed a memorable way to educate teen athletes on the symptoms of dehydration and why it’s important to stay hydrated.
To educate athletes, Gatorade built “Beat the Blitz,” a VR simulation designed to illustrate the symptoms of dehydration through an exciting and informative game. The experience featured former All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning, who not only instructed athletes in the finer points of football, but also brought users inside the body to learn the effects of dehydration.
Beat the Blitz traveled to elite football camps across the country throughout the summer, fully immersing players so they could understand dehydration with the help of a custom-built VR football helmet and haptic vest.
Beat the Blitz was also available as a free download for Vive and Oculus Rift users. And to explain in fuller detail why Gatorade created Beat the Blitz, the brand distributed a behind-the-scenes video via social media and pre-roll video.
Beat the Blitz was debuted at the NFL combine, where NFL players Josh Allen and Sam Darnold demonstrated the technology, garnering 73.7 million media impressions and mentions in Bleacher Report, the New York Post, and FanRag Sports, among other outlets. Beat the Blitz, however, didn’t just generate buzz; users logged more than 12,000 downloads and averaged 59.5 minutes of playing time. In addition, the behind-the-scenes video that explained Gatorade’s rationale for creating the experience garnered more than 2.75 million views on YouTube.