- Coca-Cola brand Sprite on Thursday launched a multiyear "Thirst for Yours" campaign that will highlight musicians, designers, artists, photographers and others in hip-hop culture, according to press materials shared with Marketing Dive.
- The campaign includes TV spots, social media and influencer content, outdoor ads and in-person experiences. Two 30-second commercials, called "The Artist" and "The Empire," follow young rapper Kodie Shane and rising fashion designer Seth Giscombe on their way to stardom and will debut later this week during the 2019 BET Awards.
- "Thirst for Yours" kicks off with a media event and panel in Los Angeles, where several hip-hop celebrities will discuss how Sprite helped their careers. A pop-up experience on June 21-22 in LA will celebrate sneaker culture with Sprite photo booths, sampling stations and performances from Sprite-associated performers Rapsody, Kamaiyah and Villain Park.
The new "Thirst for Yours" campaign follows more than three decades of the soft drink's tie-ins with hip-hop, and it replaces the brand's long-running, hip-hop-connected "Obey Your Thirst" campaign, which promoted self-expression and individuality. Sprite group director Aaliyah Shafiq said in a statement that this campaign, like previous ones, speaks to the drink's core fan base of 13- to 24-year-olds. The evolving and developing tastes of Gen Z is perhaps one reason for this change of direction.
To further engage with Gen Z, Sprite is using tactics that are popular with the cohort, such as featuring social media content, working with influencers Kodie Shane and Seth Giscombe and developing experiential activations around the 2019 BET Awards. This approach could help Sprite forge more authentic connections with these young consumers.
Despite dropping the "Obey Your Thirst" branding, Sprite is far from abandoning hip-hop — the most-streamed genre in the U.S. in 2018 — in its marketing. Sprite's connection to hip-hop began in 1986, when rapper Kurtis Blow made an appearance in a commercial. In the 1990s, the "I Like the Sprite in You" campaign included performances from hip-hop talent. In 1994, a series of hip-hop-connected ads were launched as part of the "Obey Your Thirst" effort.
"Obey Your Thirst" had more recent expressions, as well. In 2015, the "Obey Your Verse" lyrical collection included 16 limited-edition cans with lyrics from hip-hop artists like Drake, The Notorious B.I.G., Nas and Rakim. In November 2018, Sprite unveiled its "Get Vocal" campaign, urging fans to discuss issues that matter to them, thus adding a purpose-driven element to the brand's long-running campaign.
Most recently, Sprite in March launched Sprite Way, a Spotify playlist and podcast showcasing unsigned hip-hop and R&B talent. The streaming platform has worked to make itself more attractive to brands, including the likes of KFC and Smirnoff.