Gatorade’s Inspiring Tribute to Derek Jeter

After 20 amazing years with the Yankees, Derek Jeter is ready to hang up his pinstripes for good. Jeter isn’t just a player, he’s become a veritable institution for New York City and the Bronx.

A campaign tribute from Gatorade captures this reality as well as any I’ve seen.

The black and white commercial follows Jeter as he walks through the Bronx on the way to Yankee Stadium. He mingles with admirers and local kids before stopping in to Stan’s Sports Bar, a frequent hangout of Yankees fans located close to the stadium. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” plays in the background, a song Jeter chose himself. It ends with Jeter stepping out in Yankee Stadium to an uproar from the audience.

ABC News had a great writeup about the behind-the-scenes work that made the commercial happen. While many of Jeter’s interactions are with actors, they were never informed that they would be in a commercial for Derek Jeter. Their responses are 100% genuine, and the commercial captures it perfectly. The whole commercial only took about two hours to film.

Sports drink consumers are a huge demographic — over 70 million consumers — that saw sizable gains in 2013. It’s a market that Gatorade dominates with amazing marketing – from their famous sweat commercials to the ceremonial dumping of the Gatorade cooler.

The video immediately saw an overwhelmingly positive reception, and is quickly approaching 6 million views. To give some context, Jordan’s touching Jeter tribute which has been out for 2 months has 8.1 million views on YouTube.

Athletes, and their teams, are integral parts of their community. Commercials like this strike a nerve with us because we realize just how many lives have been touched by people like Derek Jeter, and the positive impacts they’ve had as role models. And that’s what’s amazing about local: the ability to connect with families and neighbors.