Through New Year's Day, we'll be counting down the year's best brand campaigns and ideas.
No. 20: While you can largely credit TikTok star Nathan Apodaca, aka @420doggface208, for propelling Ocean Spray into the spotlight with his chill performance riding his longboard while swigging the brand’s Cran-Raspberry juice and lip-synching to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” big props to the brand too for embracing him. After his video went viral, Ocean Spray rewarded him with plenty of juice and his own cranberry red-colored truck. Never mind the risks that might be involved with a brand celebrating a self-professed cannabis lover who lives in a state where marijuana use is fully illegal. Then, it was just gravy when TikTok itself jumped on board with a new spot starring Apodaca and all his fans, including Mick Fleetwood.
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.