Ocean Spray seizes on viral TikTok video, gifts its star a truck and some juice
Ocean Spray—forever linked to ads showing farmers knee-deep in cranberries—has a new marketing star: 420doggface208. That’s the social media moniker for Nathan Apodaca, who captured the internet’s attention last week with a TikTok video in which he drank the juice while longboarding and lip synching to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”
The Idaho resident’s care-free ride inspired Mick Fleetwood to recreate it in his own TikTok. And now the brand has gotten into the act. The brand sent Apodaca a new cranberry red-colored Nissan pickup truck stocked with juice and captured it on video—in an attempt to keep the unexpected attention on the Ocean Spray coming.
Apodaca recreated his joy ride in the truck and posted a video of the brand delivering the gift on Instagram. Jonesworks, Ocean Spray’s PR shop, orchestrated the delivery Apodaca’s home in Idaho Falls, where he has been living in an RV with no running water, according to USA Today.
Ocean Spray's gift came after its CEO, Tom Hayes, put his own skateboard ride on TikTok—a move that helped him double his Twitter followers, from 3,500 to 6,700 in 48 hours, according to Twitter.
It all pretty much sums up modern-day marketing: Brands and agencies can go to great lengths planning highly produced ads with carefully scripted rollout plans. But the best PR often comes from regular people using their products in attention-grabbing ways on social media. Coors Light experienced the phenomenon in April when a 93-year-old woman under quarantine held a can of the brew at her window with a sign pleading, “I need beer.” It went viral and the brand smartly delivered her 150 cans of Coors Light.
Of course, it's a balancing act: if a brand leans too much into a viral hit, it risks commercializing it to the point where it could zap the spontaneity right out of it.
Apodaca’s original video and Fleetwood’s recreation gained tons of media coverage, from the Los Angeles Times , CBS News and USA Today to Rolling Stone and Vogue, which described Apodaca’s video as demonstrating “just how badly the world is aching for the simplified state of ‘mega-chill’ right now.” That is, of course, a nice tone for a beverage brand like Ocean Spray, which is an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry growers in the United States, Canada and Chile. But it’s a mood that the brand likely could not have captured on its own.