Sprite—which has been putting rappers in its ads since Kurtis Blow starred in the 1980s—is making the most significant change to its hip-hop marketing strategy in 25 years.
The lemon-lime soda is shelving its “Obey Your Thirst” tagline, which debuted in 1994, for “Thirst for Yours.” But the update is about more than tweaking a few copy lines. New marketing will emphasize hip-hop’s growing role in a culture that extends way beyond music to include fashion, design and more.
Hip-hop “used to be this subcategory and almost a niche. And now, it’s really a culture that impacts everything,” says Dipal Shah, director of integrated marketing content at Sprite, which is owned by Coca-Cola Co. “For us, it was really important as a brand to be respectful of that and also reflective of that.”
The campaign—created by Sprite's agency of record, Wieden & Kennedy New York—includes a TV ad featuring up-and-coming, Atlanta-based rapper Kodie Shane and an aspiring fashion designer, Seth Giscombe. The brand will give the new campaign a push at this weekend’s BET Experience event in Los Angeles, where the Viacom subsidiary hosts a range of events, from music performances to fashion shows. The TV spot will debut during Sunday’s broadcast of the BET Awards.
In the ad, Shane objects to being confined to the rapper label, preferring “generation-defining artist.” In one scene, a likeness of her appears in a fictional video game, as a signal of her wide-ranging ambitions. Giscombe, meanwhile, predicts that “I am going to be the most iconic designer of all time.”