ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola Co. is targeting teenagers with its new Sprite campaign by focusing on the "intense" drinking experience the beverage provides, according to an Advertising Age report. The first TV ad debuted during the Olympics on Saturday and includes the tagline "There's nothing soft about it."
"We've never linked [the product experience] as overtly as we have now," said Kevin Keith, group director-integrated marketing content at Coca-Cola. "Most brands go to a lifestyle brand without connection to the product experience. We're trying to link to the product experience more sharply."
Sprite's ongoing "Uncontainable Game" campaign will culminate during next year's NBA All-Star Weekend 2013, but the new campaign will be broader, focusing beyond basketball and hitting on teen "passion points" such as music, skateboarding and film, according to the report. Sprite will promote a contest for film students in the second half of the year.
"We're trying to link all of these different passion points in a way that has consistency in it," said Keith. "Sprite has a very specific teen target, so we're looking for a crisp articulation."
The campaign is the first for the brand from Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett.
"In the last two years, we've been fine-tuning against the same strategy," stated Rafael Acevedo, Sprite brand director. "This campaign is based on the same fundamental truth we have for Sprite -- unique, intense excitement."
Additionally, new executions of the brand's existing design elements feature in an outdoor ad campaign. Major cities including Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York display billboards displaying the Sprite logo and a skateboarder or slam-dunking basketball player. "We wanted to push the way we look, with elements of the logo," added Acevedo.
Sprite's sales have gone up and down in recent years. In 2010, volume increased two percent, but it was flat in 2011 at 0.1 percent, according to Beverage Digest. Volume decreased 2.1 percent over the first quarter of 2012, but Coca-Cola states that it is up five percent globally year-to-date.