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Inside Ribena's digital 'Colouring Cafe' campaign, and why the brand is keeping an eye on Facebook Live

Brass dreamt up the idea for Ribena's latest stunt

As the sugar tax consultation looms behind the scenes, The Drum catches up with Ribena's senior brand manager Emmeline Purcell to find out about its latest digital campaign for Ribena Light and what social platforms the brand wants to grow next.

In July, Ribena staged a pop-up 'Colouring Cafe' event in Covent Garden, bringing influencers and fans together to colour-in individuals tiles of a giant Ribena illustration, created by artist Alex Lucas.

Designed for people who like to “grab life by the felt tip,” the stunt looked to capitalise on the current adult colouring book trend and bring the drink’s playful and vibrant positioning to life.

In a first for the brand, the campaign is now being supported by a digital and social video push across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, putting the “unsung hero” of Ribena’s portfolio, Ribena Light, at the front and centre of its messaging.

While Brexit and the impending US election may have overtaken the sugar tax in the headline stakes, Ribena’s senior brand manager Emmeline Purcell told The Drum that the brand is still dedicated to making sure health-conscious consumers know all about the no-added-sugar variant of the popular drink.

“Just because the sugar debate is not being talked about in the media it doesn’t mean that it’s not something we’re actively working on or taking seriously,” noted Purcell.

“It’s not really had any investment or support over the past decade, that’s why this year we’ve invested around £6m to put behind it and drive awareness using TV and other channels as well.”

Leeds-based integrated agency Brass dreamt up the idea for the pop-up stunt, which was developed in conjunction with event company TRO, as well as the digital amplifications.

Working in partnership with Frank PR, social media influencers such as vlogger, Giovanna Fletcher and creative girl gang, the Confetti Crowd were invited to attend and promote the event to Ribena’s target audience online.

The finished artwork, commissioned by Brass from Bristol artist Alex Lucas, was brought to life with projection mapping technology and unveiled in an evening experiential get-together.

The influencer aspect of the campaign was particularly well received on Twitter according to Purcell, who said that previously the brand had relied on the social network as "extension" for marketing pushes rather than as a central medium.

When it comes to the "vibrant activity" of colouring in, Purcell said this was akin to the way Ribena talks about the taste and drinking experience of its portfolio, and that the campaign was a metaphor for this.

For those unable to attend the pop-up, Brass created an online app that allows users to 'colour in' a piece of Ribena's illustration from their phone or tablet and share on social media.

Additional content from The Colouring Café was also hosted on the website, such as background to Ribena artist Lucas and images from the day, while a Snapchat Geofilter was activated for those attending.

Audience engagement was a key motivator for Ribena, mused Purcell, but the brand also wanted to quash misconceptions around the taste of it light variant.

"So there was a really nice balance of driving awareness and top of mind but equally doing it in a nice really intimate way that would use that to create lots of digital content," she said, adding: "The campaign beyond that, you know the social aspect and the influencer work, is really helping to drive that scale for us."

So what's next for the Suntory-owned brand? Purcell admitted that Ribena is thinking about "how to take this to next level," and hints that Facebook's real-time streaming service Live is a "really great opportunity to do that."

"Going forward that’s one of the things we need to be thinking about, the Colouring Café was a great way to engage with a smaller group of people but we need to be driving that at scale.

"I think Facebook Live now offers us a really exciting way to share those unique experiences and those kind of moments with people who can’t make it along themselves. So that is something we’d like to do more of," she added.

When quizzed about the fact Facebook is trialing mid-roll ads in on its Live feature, Purcell stated that this is something brands, Ribena included, would need to handle carefully.

"We’d obviously chose it as a platform because it’s relevant for our audience and it can help us build a relationship with our audience, it would be wrong then to serve ads that would be completely out of context with what our brand stands for and what we’re trying to talk to people about."

She continued: "We definitely have to think about and understand exactly how that would work and what the impact would be because we’re trying to build relationships with people."

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