Q&A with SVP of Brand Partnerships at Awesomeness, Harley Block


Following up our coverage of Versus, the new scripted series from Awesomeness created in partnership with Gatorade, Brand Storytelling wanted to get a little more information on the inner-workings of this forward-thinking content deal. For that (and more), we reached out to Harley Block, Senior Vice President of Brand Partnerships at Awesomeness to get the rundown on the series origins, the importance of brand partnerships, and what the future holds for Awesomeness.


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Where did the Awesomeness & Gatorade deal / idea start?

Gatorade approached us earlier this year with the idea of creating an original piece of IP in support of their larger "Sisters in Sweat" initiative. The initial inspiration was along the lines of a Friday Night Lights for teen girls featuring female athletes - and took on an entirely new dimension and framework as we progressed through the partnership.

Regarding the creative, is it all Awesomeness creative and just Gatorade dollars, or do they have creative input? How does that work?

It's incredibly important to us that our partners have actual skin in the game from a creative standpoint. It's a collaboration in every sense of the word in that our team will take the initial creative direction from the brand, establish a set of ideas and treatments in line with that direction and then work from there in partnership to refine and iterate on those ideas to ensure that we're A) able to map the final product back to the initial brief and most importantly B) that we've landed on something that can function as a standalone piece of IP and entertainment.

What are the main points you’d like to share - what do you want our readers to know about this project?

The series highlights the challenges the teen female athletes face on and off the field and highlights the important life lessons girls learn through participation in sports that can help them succeed later in life. "Versus" launched in tandem with Gatorade's new campaign, "Sisters in Sweat." This campaign aims to shed light on the growing problem of girls dropping out of sports (teen girls today drop out of sports at 1.5x the rate of boys by age 14), by showing that staying in sports throughout their teenage years has long-term, personal benefits, no matter what they decide to go “pro” in.

How valuable are brand partnerships to Awesomeness?