Vita Coco is taking on the haters in a new campaign for its newest offering called Pressed Coconut Water. The brand says it developed an algorithm to find the most negative product reviewers on sites like Yelp, Amazon and TripAdvisor. Some of the reviewers appear in new videos for Vita Coco in which they give understated endorsements for the brand. One of them, identified as “shelliza906,” deadpans that “I would drink this, if someone gave it to me.” The new Pressed product is marketed as “the first coconut water that tastes like coconut.” The agency behind the effort is Interesting Development. A brand spokeswoman said the people appearing in the ads were paid for their time, “but the opinions are all their own.”
Soon after the debut, a Twitter pissing match ensued between the brand and one of its haters, Tony Posnanski, a self-identified “amateur MMA fighter” with a verified Twitter account.
Vita Coco tweeted back at him, encouraging him to try its variety. He responded that “I would rather drink your social media persons piss than coconut water.” [sic]
The brand, amazingly, took the bait, tweeting him a picture of a woman holding what appears to be a jar of urine in a container labeled Vita Coco.
Not only that, but Vita Coco pinned the tweet, for all the world to see.
Ad Age reached out to a brand spokeswoman for an explanation, who in an email responded that “simply put, Tony dared to hate—without actually trying Pressed.”
Was it all a stunt? We asked the spokeswoman if Posnanski was paid. She replied, “No, completely organic.”
Subsequently, Vita Coco Brand Director Allison Finazzo, brand director at Vita Coco spoke to Ad Age about the tweet, and the risks of the brand from now on being associated with pee. "Vita Coco does not taste like urine–we can prove that," she said. "We’re a brand, we’re trying to sell a product and we’re trying to have fun while doing it."