Sprite Gets Cryptic

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Sprite 'Spa'
Sprite 'Spa'
It can't hurt to take a pretty plain drink and add a touch of surrealism. That's exactly what Crispin Porter + Bogusky has done with Sprite's latest campaign, resurrecting the hybrid Lymon, a concept the brand first employed in the 1980s. The execution couldn't be more different this time around, with futurism pervading the spots directed by Smuggler's Happy. Yellow and green sumos collide with a gentleman seated in the woods; a patient with fruits over his eyes reveals his eye is another mouth. Tiny medics resuscitate a weary woman with Sprite and a gardener sprays Sprite into the gaping maws of hundreds of snapdragons, all with the Shepard Fairy-ish tagline "Obey" (shortened from the previous campaign's Obey Your Thirst"). The spots made their debut during the NBA Playoffs Thursday and were up on YouTube, linked through the subLYMONal.com site, the next morning. "The broader campaign is much more focused on the Lymon proposition that we've not focused on in recent years and the straightforward attitude," said one Coca-Cola spokesperson. "We're telling you that we're advertising to you."

Of continued interest is the beverage's link to ABC's alternate reality game The Lost Experience. Early commercials from the shadowy Hanso Foundation contained messages that they were sponsored by Sprite, while later iterations directed users to the subLYMONal site. At Lost-specific times, the Hanso Corporation site's digital clock would flash "OB:EY" and link to the subLYMONal site. SubLYMONal, created by AKQA, requires users to pick up flashed code words in order to access different features. The television spots, which flash a "DVR ready" tag at the beginning, have several hidden frames with codes for the site, such as a golden frog with "code: tongue" written on it. Entered into the website, that code takes users to a text-to-speech window where a lemon-headed figure acts out the letters. At this point only two codes appear Lost-related (as well as a clue in the site's source code). Coca-Cola refuses to comment on any connection between the Lost Experience and the new site, despite numerous links both overt and hidden. The remainder of features at subLYMONal include links to the spots on YouTube, a downloadable screensaver, streaming audio by hip hop artists Talib Kweli and Farnsworth Bentley, a mini game and a LYMONics glossary.
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