Behind the Scenes of Derek Jeter's Emotional Gatorade Ad
"From my first at bat until my final out, you helped make me who I am"
Gatorade's 90-second Derek Jeter ad, which follows Mr. November as he chats with real (and very surprised) fans while walking a few blocks to Yankee Stadium, has collected more than 2 million views since hitting YouTube Thursday.
Gatorade first met with Jeter to propose the "Made in New York" commercial idea back in March, after he announced his retirement in a letter to fans on Facebook. The black-and-white ad was then shot over a two-hour period in July before a home game on a 97-degree day. "Everyone in the commercial was hired by Gatorade, but they had no idea they were in a Derek Jeter commercial," Molly Carter, senior director of marketing at Gatorade, told ABC News, adding that nothing was scripted as the Yankee legend walked through the Bronx, and that Jeter chose Frank Sinatra's "My Way" because it encapsulated his career.
Mike Rendino, the general manager of Stan's Sports Bar (who has been waiting for Jeter to stop in since 1998, a remark to which Jeter responds in the ad, "You never invited me,"), kept the visit a secret after getting a "heads up.... The few [employees] I could tell, I was emotional telling them because I was so excited," he said. The appearance, which should have only lasted a few minutes, spanned nearly 15 as Jeter spent time with customers and asked to go behind the bar.
The spot will begin airing on TV Saturday on YES Network and Fox. Print ads will follow in The New York Daily News and Sports Illustrated, with Jeter writing a letter addressed to New York as part of the campaign. "From my first at bat until my final out, you helped make me who I am," he writes.
The Gatorade tribute follows Nike's "Respect" ad earlier this year, which featured cameos by Jay Z, Spike Lee, Billy Crystal, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Phil Jackson and more as they tipped their hats to the retiring player.