Coca-Cola introduces the first consistent, global advertising platform for its $20 billion Sprite brand. ‘Heat Happens’ will be released in 200 markets along with the new Sprite logo and visual identity. The historic campaign is the first campaign created from the ground up by WPP’s Open X team.
Wherever you are in the world, you will soon hear that a cold Sprite is the antidote to “when the heat builds up”. Sprite’s new campaign, which launched in the US and India this month, says the world is warming more than ever before, both physically and mentally. The best way to stay cool is to open a Sprite according to the new campaign, which will reach all 200 markets and regions where the beverage is sold.
This historic effort is the first global branding platform for Coca-Cola’s second largest trademark. It is also the first work entirely created by the Open X team, WPP’s new network. Coke’s $4 billion business was the most discussed account win of 2021. WPP won in November.
Sprite’s packaging is also getting a worldwide makeover. This includes a new logo, simplified graphics and a greater focus on sustainability. In particular, Sprite is phasing out its recognizable green plastic bottles in favor of clear bottles that are easier to recycle. The bottles will also feature a call to action that reads “Recycle me”.
This new approach to marketing and packaging “will go a long way in creating consumer experience consistency worldwide – something Sprite has never had,” Sprite’s global brand director Shrenik Dasani told The Drum.
Sprite’s combined campaign follows Coca-Cola’s global launch of “Real Magic” for the Coca-Cola trademark last year.
Coca-Cola can’t measure the increased marketing spend behind the brand other than to say it matters. Overall, Sprite is a top priority for the beverage giant as the $20 billion brand continues to see significant growth. In the US market, for example, Sprite trademark dollar sales increased 8% in 2021 and 18% through March 2022, according to Beverage Digest. “This is one of their biggest and most important trademarks,” says Beverage Digest editor Duane Stafford. “Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Fanta are the big three.”
Coca-Cola wants to capitalize on Sprite’s strong momentum by targeting Gen Z with fun and engaging ads. TV commercials feature “hot moments” where Sprite helps the protagonist stay cool. At one point, a nurse avoids breaking her brother’s banjo. In another, the person going to a concert makes the wise decision not to stand in line. An outdoor advertisement reads: “Wi-fi out. Wi-me and Wi-now?” Another: “When you said it 5 minutes 45 minutes ago.”
Previously, Sprite had aligned itself with sports, positioning its products as the ideal post-workout refresher. NBA stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and most recently Trae Young have served as the faces of the brand. “Going beyond just being physical allows us to expand opportunities to interact and provide relaxation for our consumers in these moments,” says Dasani. “We believe that Generation Z consumers live in a hotter world than ever before.”
At the heart of the campaign will be real-time social media marketing with “heat tips”. They will include offers for special concerts and events. Additionally, Sprite is launching an in-pack rewards program that allows fans to “search for ways to help beat the ‘heat’ of everyday life, whether at home or on the go,” according to the company.
Other notable changes: a greater focus on Sprite Zero Sugar, which will see a bold, black font on its packaging compared to the original Sprite, which will have a white font. “Test results show it makes it easier for people to find what they’re looking for,” says Dasani. Additionally, consumers will notice that a “bing bong bing” jingle is appended to the end of most TV commercials and video content.
Overall, Dasani says, the new effort is “tailored to what we believe are the Gen Z lifestyle realities.” “Our main goal is to involve Gen Z and engage them in a weekly Sprite consuming ritual.”