Sprite has a long history in the hip-hop space, starting with a 1986 commercial that featured Kurtis Blow to the iconic ‘I Love the Sprite in You’ ad, starring popular artists like LL Cool J and Kris Kross.
The brand has now returned to hip-hop culture as it releases a new product - Sprite Ginger, a gingery twist on the original lemon-lime soft drink.
But rather than going for a big hip-hop star to help launch it, Sprite is looking to young creators to collaborate on a Sprite Ginger Collection of products, which it’s dropping in New York City today (12 February).
To help launch the Sprite Ginger Collection, Sprite has partnered with legendary streetwear designer Jeff Staple, founder of Staple Design and Staple Pigeon – a celebration of young, up-and-coming creators from across the artistic spectrum.
Sprite calls the new product and collection a “reinvention” of sorts. “The reason we think it’s about reinvention is because the trend of cross-segment blurring is definitely at the forefront of what consumers are wanting. With Sprite Ginger we feel we can give our fans what they know and love about Sprite, in terms of it being cool and crisp with lemon-lime and caffeine-free but with a little bit of reinvention with that hit of ginger flavor,” Aaliyah Shafiq, brand group director, Sprite, told The Drum.
Added Sam Beresford, senior manager, Sprite, of the collection: “What we did was take that concept of reinvention and we are using that to tap into a network of emerging, young creators. It plays in that hip-hop music and hip-hop cultural space. Sprite as a brand has such a rich heritage of that, of being a part of hip-hop culture and leaning into that and putting on hip-hop artists over the years. So, this idea of reinvention is a really interesting way for us to push that forward.”
The campaign began with an out-of-home and social teaser push. For the last few weeks in New York City the brand has put up billboards that show the Sprite can with tear-aways at the top showing the gold accents in the new can. They were strategically placed in lower Manhattan in neighborhoods where the brand knows its audience and the culture they follow is active.
“We did these cool, cryptic billboards which flipped and revealed the product. That generated a lot of cool conversations on social media,” said Beresford.
Sprite is treating the release of its product and Ginger Collection like a ‘drop’, a staple in modern hip-hop culture where hype is teased and built and the product (albums, clothing collections, movies) is suddenly dropped, like a midnight Beyoncé album.
“We thought, with that spirit of reinvention, it would be really cool to be the first beverage brand to ‘drop’ a new product in that way,” Beresford said.
The TV spot at the center of the campaign, by Wieden+Kennedy, should help that. In it, a young man leads viewers through a mix of old and new school hip-hop culture as it pertains to Sprite, showing “new new” concepts along with the “oh so familiar”, meaning new ginger flavor meshing with traditional Sprite. It ends with the statement “It’s not limited edition, but it should be.”
The drop also encompasses the Ginger Collection, which drops at hip streetwear shop Extra Butter in New York with a collection of clothing, art and other items by nine up-and-coming creators, like designer Bluboy, artist Barbara Rego and design collaborative Banana Papaya, all mentored by Staples.
“They are taking that idea of reinvention and putting a hit of something new to all the amazing work that they’re already producing. So, we think it’s a really strong tie between what the product actually is and how we are going to tell that story,” said Beresford.
Around the time of the campaign launch, Sprite will reveal what the collection is, and it includes jewelry, art, clothing and even a skateboard deck. The brand will spend the next eight to 10 weeks telling the story of each item in the collection about how they were collaborated with and how they were mentored by Staple. The brand is helping the creators manufacture and distribute the items.
“A lot of the story we’ll be telling through social will be the stories of these individual creators and their items and actually dropping them in the same way a streetwear brand might announce a collection or season, and week by week drop pieces of that collection,” Beresford explained.
This is the first time Sprite has launched a product under its brand platform, ‘Thirst for Yours’ which started in 2019 to spotlight tastemakers and innovators – musicians, designers, artists, photographers and more – who are shaping the future of hip-hop culture.
“The drop and the Ginger Collection is really the first time underneath that new brand platform to do this. We think it’s a great representation of launching a new product, but doing it in a way that puts young, creative people who are contributing to hip-hop culture and pushing it forward, putting them on and giving them a chance for us to help them elevate their voice and execute their vision,” said Beresford.
See elements of the campaign by clicking on the Creative Works box below.