Summary of First in Thirst

How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat Into a Cultural Phenomenon

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First in Thirst book summary
People drink 142 bottles of Gatorade a second in the U.S. alone. Are people that thirsty? Or just that sweaty?


8 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


This is such a powerful brand story that you may actually get thirsty reading it. Most people have no idea that sweating creates a huge drink market, but author Darren Rovell tells a well-researched, interesting and compelling story about how a group of Florida doctors concocted a simple drink to prevent dehydration. A combination of good science, luck and efficient marketing helped transform this initially unpalatable drink into the world’s most popular sports elixir. Along the way, Gatorade marketers forged relationships with athletes, teams and superstars, and capitalized on the public’s fascination with sports. The end result was a sales and marketing bonanza. recommends this brand building saga to all marketers or to anyone interested in just how a drink built a bridge between sports and popular culture. Even if you don’t break a sweat reading Rovell’s marketing saga, prepare yourself to buy a bottle of Gatorade - you’re going to want to satisfy your thirst to check this out.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Gatorade built and then captured an entirely new brand category: sports drinks;
  • What techniques Gatorade used to compete against larger rivals; and
  • How focused marketing helped make the brand dominant.


Liquid Gold
Gatorade is more than a salty-flavored Technicolor drink that keeps athletes hydrated. The brand has become synonymous with competitive athletics itself. Gatorade is a huge marketing force with thousands of sponsorship deals, a huge advertising budget ($135 million in 2003 ...
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About the Author

Darren Rovell is’s sports business reporter. He appears on ESPN radio shows, ESPNews, "Sports Center" and "Outside the Lines." He is co-author of On the Ball: What You Can Learn About Business from America’s Sports Leaders.

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