The Gatorade Fuel Lab Experience
I’ve received all kinds of requests over my tenure at Lapine, so when I was on a Gatorade conference call and the question was asked, “Can Lapine build a vending machine that could output customized bottles?” I gave the answer I learned from a mentor and said “Anything is possible with time and money”. After discussing the true need, I learned what Gatorade really wanted was to create a mobile experience where people could engage with the brand and ultimately create a personalized bottle as part of the experience.
Over a three month period we worked with Gatorade and their partners to figure out a way to make their ask a reality. There were countless planning hours where so many details were discussed. Still when we went to the kickoff event at SxSW in Austin, I was in awe to see the massive undertaking this was from start to finish. So many pieces had to come together to make the Gatorade Fuel Lab happen – from getting electricity to places where it normally is not found to navigating last minute deliveries when the roads were closed for the festival. Our Lapine team was there 4 days before the event started, which allowed us to see an empty warehouse space turn into a showcase for Gatorade innovation. Not sure if the pictures do justice to the coolness of this experience. At the end of the day, we turned a vision into actuality – that’s one of the aspects I love about our job. We get to be at the start of brainstorming ideas and developing strategies to see it to a tangible end, usually with merchandise and social media feedback. And this time, we also got to see our clients’ reaction. When they arrived and saw the experience for the first time, shrieks of delight were heard from inside and outside the venue!
I had a SxSW badge, so I decided I wanted to experience the event like anyone else at the festival. I signed up through the app and was conscious about going through the experience not as someone
who was close to the development but as a person interested in what Gatorade is up to. I wore the virtual reality goggles to hang out with Bryce Harper, I was inspired by the larger than life videos that projected onto revolving doors, I walked right up to the tablet with my name and customized a bottle, I went to the locker room of the future and asked questions like why Elena Della Donne had a Sofia the First figure in her replica locker (a gift from her little sister) and reveled in the experience of seeing my name on a locker and opening it up to get the personalized bottle I designed 8 minutes ago. Since I wasn’t wearing my Lapine hat during the experience, I think I had a similar reaction to others going through the Gatorade Fuel Lab. Feeling a little guilty about the donuts I had for breakfast, I hit the gym….
By Stacey Swineford