Saying Goodbye to a Legend

Gatorade produced a Derek Jeter farewell commercial to say goodbye to the man who has played in New York for all 20 of his seasons in the league. The commercial was him choosing to walk through the city meeting and greeting all of his loyal fans. This commercial was published a little over a year ago back in September 2014, and is one single message. The story shows how much Jeter meant to the city of New York in all the years he’d been there, he may have just been playing baseball but, he was probably a lot of kids and people’s hero for the way he respected and played the game. Not only did he play for the city he created the Derek Jeter “Turn 2” Foundation that helps motivate kids to stay away from drugs and unhealthy lifestyles and instead strive for academic achievements, and leadership responsibilities.

What’s neat about this commercial is Gatorade doesn’t reveal it’s their commercial until the last 6–7 seconds when you see a Gatorade container before Jeter runs out onto the field. According to the Wall Street Journal Gatorade paid for this commercial because it was a tribute to Jeter and aimed to show the relationship him and his fans had together.

What this company does best is create media to help inspire athletes to continually work and achieve their goals. A lot of their commercials have to do with training and making the big play at the end of the game, but their piece with Jeter is something different. They aren’t showing his home runs, or big moments, they are showing him connecting with the community. They did a similar piece with Landon Donovan but it wasn’t so much a farewell it was showing how kids around the world no matter what age, race, or gender all have something in common and that is the love of sport. This was not a part of a larger campaign this was simply one company, who have worked with the athlete for years, sending him off with a proper goodbye.

What makes this commercial innovative is the wide range of emotions you feel throughout. You see children greeting their baseball hero, a woman crying out of happiness, unity throughout the city just by the presence of one man and to be able to see a diverse community come together is something else. What makes this commercial interesting to me is I’ve known Derek Jeter to be one of the greatest but never new how some people felt about him but to see such large groups of smiling faces just to get a glimpse of him made me not want to take my eyes off the screen. I wouldn’t call them competitors but, Nike produced a tribute commercial where it shows all the major supporters of Jeter and the Yankees, as well as rival Boston Red Sox fans showing their appreciation to the legend, giving you a better understanding of his respect around the league. After looking up ‘tribute commercials’ there wasn’t a lot farewell commercials produced lately so this ad kind of stands in a group with only a few others.

According to Ad Week they titled the article ‘Gatorade’s Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter Will Be Tough to Beat’ so right off the bat you know people were loving the way Gatorade said goodbye to Jeter and his legacy. Gatorade’s senior director of consumer engagement, Molly Carter said, “It was a true collaboration between Derek and Gatorade.” This gives you the assumption that Jeter wanted to show him and his gratefulness to his fans by making a commercial of him signing autographs, taking pictures, and making his way throughout the town. Gatorade gave Jeter a lot of freedom to personalize and make the farewell how he wanted to go out.

Something other brands or organizations could take away from this is it’s not always about showing an explosive play or having high intensity during a commercial, sometimes slowing down and showing the sentimental value somebody has to their city, country, or what have you can help people see a different side to your brand that maybe they didn’t know existed.


Landon Donovan Gatorade Commercial:

Nike Derek Jeter Tribute:

Ad Week Article:

McCarthy, Michael. “Ad of the Day: Gatorade’s Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter Will Be Tough to Beat Surprising Fans in the Bronx.” AdWeek. N.p., 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

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