A beloved but struggling brand, Sprite was failing to relate to its market. To complicate matters, that market is incredibly diverse, with consumers ranging from leading-edge teens to soccer moms, and in every global market, each with wildly different levels of engagement with the brand. Their previous one-design-fits-all approach was not resonating. Our solution was to create a series of purely visual coordinated brand campaigns that could be strategically deployed to respond to particular audiences and markets.
The visual strategy exploited the multiple styles and vernaculars of the ‘cut-and-paste’ culture so important to Sprite’s audience, while focusing on communicating only two true core messages: product taste profile and audience culture.
The deployment strategy, however, was to modulate those messages and their nuances to emphasize one over another depending on context. In this way we were able to speak with the audiences, not at them with ‘disruptive’ messaging. Trust and relevance in each market was established not by appropriating their voice or changing the messages, but by speaking about product truths in ways that were resonant with the audiences.
The range of expressions were divided into four distinct, but visually cross-pollinated, contextually responsive concepts, with each concept further modulated to speak to product or culture as proximity to each changed, and with more or less overt product imagery as needed.
FLAVOR AND EFFERVESCENCE CAMPAIGN
Developed for more mainstream or general audiences, and for international markets with less awareness of or engagement with the brand. This was the workhorse campaign and the most direct commercial expression developed. The Effervescence campaign focused primarily on translations of the product flavors and sensations through a ‘cut-and-paste’ fusion of visual techniques and styles.
MIX AND MATCH CAMPAIGN
Constructive and inclusive, the Mix and Match campaign spliced locally commissioned interpretive expressions of ‘thirst’ on the top half, with Sprite’s core iconography on the bottom. This campaign provided the opportunity to balance Sprite’s brand, flavor and cultural expressions in one visual. Its strength was in its ability to represent great diversity from design to design while maintaining a consistent brand image and voice by sharing common techniques, motifs, colors and core concepts.
This campaign provided great flexibility for those markets preferring a greater level of design involvement for adapting to specific consumer segments or marketing objectives, and worked most powerfully when deployed in multiples for a more engaging dialogue.
LIFESTYLE ICONOGRAPHY CAMPAIGN
The Lifestyle Iconography campaign captured and expressed the idea that youth culture lifestyles are defined by a collection of associations with disparate ideas, objects and media, as much as it is associations with others. These ‘things’, combined with carefully constructed ‘others’ and core product imagery formed the vocabulary of the campaign. Generally less overt than the previous two campaigns, this was most effective in markets where engagement and awareness with the brand was high, and in environments that cater to youth culture.
This campaign adapted well to unique, free-form site-specific compositions that could be constructed into expressions of product or lifestyle as contexts and marketing objectives required.
The Camouflage campaign pushed the Sprite brand into a direct conversation with its leading-edge youth culture audience by speaking directly to them in their own (visual) language, while remaining just below the radar of the mainstream. With the overt brand signals literally camouflaged among the patterns of silhouettes (diversity and community) and bubbles (energy and taste) this campaign functioned as infinitely adaptable branded environmental texture that could exist anywhere, at any scale, and with more or less product branding as context demanded.
Though designed to live for only one year primarily in underground and grassroots applications, the campaign resonated so well with its audience that it was applied to several million promotional slim cans and distributed to leading-edge destinations to trickle up into mainstream awareness. The success of that can spawned a limited run of the design on all of the brand’s primary retail packaging.
Designed to replace the Camouflage campaign, above, the D.I.Y. campaign was a celebration of cultural appropriation, representing the spirit of individual freedom, creativity and subversion. An acknowledgement of the need for Sprite’s audience to create their own life-narrative. Importantly, it was the acknowledgment of this ideology, not the emulation, that helped align the brand with its key leading-edge audience.
The potential vocabulary for these narratives were arranged in Rorschach-like compositions to further communicate the idea of individual interpretation, as if the bits and pieces were ready to be selected, rearranged and recombined into personally-relevant stories.
Intended exclusively for dialogue with influencers, this campaign would typically appear as low-saturation one-off applications in audience relevant environments, appearing merely as decoration to the uninitiated.