NZ rowing star fronts Powerade Olympics campaign

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Powerade and its local partners Ogilvy NZ, Ikon Communications, and Acumen Republic have launched an Olympic campaign fronted by current Olympic rowing champion Mahé Drysdale.

The campaign’s focus is on Drysdale’s hard work to get where he is today – proof, say the filmmakers, that Olympians are made, not born.

As the Olympic Games ambassador for Powerade, the official sports drink of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Drysdale is preparing to hit the water in Rio next month in a bid to win his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the single sculls, which would make the 37-year-old the oldest in 116 years to win the title.

Backed by a “significant” media investment, the campaign aims to position Powerade as a catalyst of hydration and inspiration for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The local campaign promotes the release of the new limited edition Powerade Rio Gold flavour and will be seen across billboards, Adshels, gym panels, digital and social media – these will update Drysdale’s progress during the Games.

Filmed in NZ
Powerade also shot their global TV ad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in New Zealand with local, grass roots athletes hoping to one day emulate Drysdale and the other sports people representing NZ in Rio.

And to celebrate 24 years of Powerade as the official sports drink of the most viewed sports event in the world, Powerade has released a limited edition Rio Gold flavour.

Drysdale is testament that what you put in is what you get out, with his gruelling training regime leading him to become one of the most decorated rowers in the world. He says the right nutrition has played a large part in his success so far.

“I quickly realised that if I wanted to compete at the top level, the training was one thing, but I also needed to be fuelling my body with the right stuff. Pies and chips weren’t going to get me a gold medal and I also needed to look at how I was hydrating.

“The amount of time spent out in the boat means I lose a lot of fluid through sweat. It is important for me to rehydrate that with added carbohydrate and electrolytes that are in balance with my body’s natural fluids and help give me the energy to keep going. If it tastes good it’s even easier to get it down quickly and that’s where Powerade comes in,” Drysdale says.

“We could be getting some warm days in Rio which makes hydration even more important. Most of us have had bad race-day experiences where we haven’t kept up our fluids. The headaches, the fatigue and the slowness mean there’s no way you can perform at your best. Powerade Rio Gold will help keep us hydrated when we need it most,” Mahé says.

While Drysdale’s height and athleticism paint him as a born sportsman, his rise to rowing royalty has not been without hard graft and sacrifice.

In fact, Drysdale is a walking example of a study that found effort, practice and learning were far more important than natural talent when it comes to elite sports.

Late starter
Rowing didn’t come calling until Mahé was in his early 20s, making him a relatively late starter by Olympic Games standards.

“I first decided to give rowing a crack while I was at university studying to be an accountant. Albeit unsuccessfully coming in second to last and missing another race entirely, I stuck it out because I enjoyed it and I knew that if I worked hard enough I could make a go of it,” Mahé says.

“You hear about these biomechanically gifted athletes, who has a massive wingspan and feet like flippers, but without hard work and the right attitude he would be no different to anyone else.”

While many countries have elite athlete programmes identifying talent from as soon as they can walk, Mahé says genetic predisposition is simply an advantage and not a golden ticket to success.


Creative Agency: Ogilvy NZ
Media Agency: Ikon Communications
Powerade Brand Manager: Jodie Timmins
NZ PR: Acumen Republic

Client: Coca-Cola
Agency: David (Miami, Sao Paulo)
ECDs: Joaquin Cubria, Ignacio Ferioli
Production Company: Reset (Santa Monica)
Director/DP: Wally Pfister
NZ Production: Exit Films
Post Production Editorial Company: Lost Planet
Editors: Hank Corwin, PJ Fabbrini
Music: Composer: Kid Karate/

Music Supervisor: Music Dealers

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