Danny Ecker via Crain’s Chicago Business
Two of Chicago’s most prominent athletes are part of the latest national commercial from sports drink giant Gatorade.
Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith are both featured in the brand’s new “Moving the Game Forward” ad (above), a national spot that debuts today.
The ad is rife with Chicago ties, which is fitting for locally based Gatorade. Aside from Delle Donne and Keith, former Simeon Academy star Jabari Parker and Chicago native Dwyane Wade play roles, as does the Michael Jordan statue outside the United Center.
Keith stands out among the group, which includes globally recognized athletes Usain Bolt and Lionel Messi, among others.
The Hawks defenseman—not one to appear in many national commercials—seems to be filling in for teammate Patrick Kane, who is one of Gatorade’s top athlete partners and appeared in a national ad for the brand last summer. But no brand that works with Kane is putting his face at the forefront of its marketing while the 26-year-old star remains the subject of a sexual assault investigation.
A Gatorade spokeswoman said Keith’s appearance was a one-time deal as opposed to an endorsement partnership.
DELLE DONNE’S SPOTLIGHT
While the new ad signals a low point for Kane’s marketability, it’s the opposite for rising star Delle Donne, who recently added Gatorade to an endorsement portfolio that includes Nike, DuPont and Delaware health care system Christiana Care.
The Gatorade spot marks the second national commercial appearance for the WNBA’s new most valuable player in as many weeks, coming just days after Nike debuted its “Snow Day” ad and made Delle Donne one of the faces of its cold-weather gear campaign.
The national commercial spotlight is new territory for the 26-year-old, whose only experience in TV ads was a recent local spot for Christiana Care.
Embracing her role as the face of women’s basketball, however, is nothing new. And Delle Donne plans on taking advantage of the extra attention that she’s getting after posting one of the most statistically impressive seasons in WNBA history.
“I’m lucky enough to be in a time right now where women’s sports are really taking off,” Delle Donne said last week at an event to debut the new Nike ad. “To be in this time period where I feel like it’s taking off is such a special thing. I’m excited about it and I like the challenge of it all.”