via Imago

As the athletes prepare for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, global brands are actively gearing up with unique marketing strategies. And one of the first in competition is Coca-Cola’s Powerade. Back in 2020, Simone Biles surprised everyone when she withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics because of twisties and “decided to take a pause” to prioritize her mental health. Her move inspired Powerade to come up with the campaign “Pause is Power” and got her on board for the second time.

The gripping advertisement from the Olympic sponsor reflects on Biles’ journey, emphasizing the crucial balance between physical prowess and mental fortitude. It begins with a peek into Simone Biles’ life as a professional athlete navigating tremendous pressure. Despite the clamor of media voices, Biles stays steadfast, dedicating herself to honing her routines. What made Powerade’s campaign stand out is its quiet, deliberate approach, unlike the fast-paced ads often associated with the Olympics. ‘The Vault’ unfolds slowly, revealing the human side of Biles.

As she returns to the mat, her voice cuts through the noise, expressing vulnerability and the decision to take a step back as she claims, “I felt broken, that’s why I decided to take a pause.” Set against a backdrop of ethereal scenes from both her illustrious career and intimate moments with her loved ones, the ad reaches its crescendo as Biles lands flawlessly on the mat. Moreover, under the watchful eye of a young admirer, Powerade’s resonant tagline, ‘Pause Is Power’ resonated deeply.


Article continues below this ad

Following the ad release, former Olympic champion Nastia Liukin offered her insights, praising the video as a poignant portrayal of human resilience. She remarked, “This video is such a beautiful way to present the story and era of a human that will inspire many (including myself) for generations to come… Bravo, @powerade 👏🏼 and of course thank you @simonebiles for teaching us all that you don’t have to win or be perfect to be celebrated. You will always be enough. 🫶🏼” Liukin’s support for Biles has always extended beyond words, standing by her side during challenging times, such as when she faced the daunting twisties.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by POWERADE (@powerade)

Nastia Liukin shared a heartfelt message for Simone Biles after Biles withdrew from both the women’s team final and the individual all-around at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Liukin praised Biles for showcasing her multifaceted identity beyond athletics, applauding her as a leader, role model, and mental health advocate who sets an example for future generations of athletes.

“Thank you for helping the world realize that prioritizing your physical and mental health is the mark of a true champion,” she continued. “Thank you for illuminating that nobody is defined by the depth of their trophy case and that you don’t owe anything to anyone but yourself and the pursuit of happiness.” Liukin’s words emphasized Biles’ impact on creating a safer environment for athletes to be authentic and prioritize their well-being.


Article continues below this ad

Mental health influences the way athletes think, feel, and act. According to a report by Athletes For Hope in 2019, it reported that around 46 million people living in the US suffer from mental health crises, and among them, 35% are elite athletes. Even Coca-Cola understood the importance of this and created the campaign ahead of the Olympics and got Biles on board for the second time for the same purpose.

Simone Biles wants people to be kinder to themselves

Simone Biles featured in the debut of the “Pause is Power” campaign last year, which had a more light-hearted tone. With the growing pressure and competition in sports, Coca-Cola drew inspiration from how gymnasts deal with mental health and physical fitness. The brand drew inspiration from how Biles took up the challenge and set an example for them.


Article continues below this ad

In the second advertisement, they focused on mental health and got Biles on board again. Competition comes with great pressure, so it was important to remind people to understand the power of pausing and rejuvenating themselves to gain the power to get back stronger. Who better than Simone Biles could relate to this?

When Simone Biles signed up with Powerade, she realized the power of a pause and said, “We push ourselves hard physically and emotionally to achieve our dreams but if we are not our best mentally, then we are not maximizing our full potential. I want to help encourage everybody to be kinder to themselves, because that’s when we’re at our strongest and we can achieve the most.” Coca-Cola’s president of the global sports category, Matrona Filippou, believed that it was very brave of Simone Biles to step up and express how “taking a pause is not an act of weakness, but rather an act of courage and power.”