Campaign Trail is our evaluation of a few of one of the best recent creative efforts from the marketing world. View past columns within the archives here.
Smartwater is a brand with a 25-plus 12 months heritage, a key position in Coca-Cola’s hydration portfolio and — with its latest brand extension — a probability to crack right into a $1 billion alkaline space.
With a 9.5 pH level and the addition of selenium, Smartwater Alkaline with Antioxidant seeks to spice up hydration beyond regular water. Coca-Cola tapped agency VMLY&R to craft a marketing campaign that dual-tracks creative to supply two takes on how consumers can elevate their lives with the product. Launched in late February and running across paid and owned traditional and digital promoting, “Elevate How You Hydrate” features two 30-second ads.
The eponymous spot is a rapid-fire relay race of urban motion that follows a bottle of Smartwater as its bearers commute, BMX bike, run and prepare to hit the town before a daredevil takes the bottle for a visit up the facade of a constructing. The lower-key “Same Kid” stars brand ambassador Pete Davidson, who claims to be the “standard kid from Staten Island,” only one who has elevated his experiences, all in the previous “SNL” star’s familiar comedic tone.
By using two in a different way styled ads, the brand hoped to speak that its enhanced Smartwater is for consumers going beyond their normal limits, not only peak-performance athletes.
“When I take a look at the landscape of hydration, there’s loads of options on the market,” said Luke Perkins, group director for creative Strategy at The Coca-Cola Company. “We really need to provide our consumers a terrific option for his or her lifestyle,” whatever which may be.
Two ads, two approaches
For VMLY&R, the theme and tagline of the campaign flowed naturally from insights concerning the product and its consumer base, one which has an energetic lifestyle and is all the time trying to improve their lives.
“This ‘Elevate How You Hydrate’ idea could be very easy: all about going up, literally going up vertically, going up within the air, elevating in all the pieces we do, and that is where the the concept for the TVC got here out,” said Kyle Gracey, group creative director on the agency.
The eponymous spot features Peloton instructor Alex Toussaint, track star Bianca Williams and BMX biker Nigel Sylvester, providing a spread of activities as an alternative of keying into one sport. Along with seamless edits and transitions, the fast-moving spot is driven by its soundtrack, the percussive “I Be Dancin'” by Jordyn “Dawdy” Dodd, which was chosen after a deep dive by the agency’s internal music house, the production team and Coca-Cola. All together, the spot speaks to the motion and malleability of its target market.
“With our consumers, when you get going — whether that is through work, sport or hanging out with your mates, you are all the time in motion, and that is the energy that [the VMLY&R team] really captured,” Perkins said.
For the “Same Kid” spot, Smartwater was in a position to utilize a brand partner who appears to be continually moving in numerous spaces today, Pete Davidson. While not an athlete at the highest of his game, Davidson represents other ways that customers could be energetic and perform at a high level.
“I do not think he’s the apparent selection, and I believe that is what is great about it,” said Perkins. “He brings a distinct aspect to the brand, that concept that there are other ways to raise your life.”
“Same Kid” toys with how Davidson’s day by day routine — playing video games, eating dinner with his mom, going to the films — have been elevated in recent times, transforming into VR gaming, truffle grilled cheese dinners and red carpet appearances.
“There was a spectrum of this goal between the fitness and the approach to life that we were going back and forth with,” said Gracey. “With Pete, it gave us a chance to after the approach to life side of the spectrum — it was pretty easy to pivot and it also gave us a dynamic technique to use the ‘elevate’ [idea].”
Brand ambassadors, especially one within the paparazzi-public eye like Davidson, come with their very own baggage. And ones like Davidson, who also has appeared in campaigns for Manscaped, Taco Bell and H&M, could possibly be nearing a saturation point in promoting; there was even a joke about him being “in all places” in a Super Bowl ad this 12 months. But for Smartwater, which began working with the celeb in 2021, still feels the partnership is smart.
“We’re in a position to use him in a novel way in these campaigns that other brands possibly aren’t,” explained Perkins. “We ensure that that this can be a Smartwater ad that has Pete in it, using his humor, his lifestyle and how he’s created his profession in an unconventionally smart way, and ensuring that it reflects the brand, as well.”
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