Uncola Wars - 7up vs Sprite

About a month apart from each other, both 7UP and Sprite launched new ad campaigns. 7UP's campaign focuses on the aspect of now being the "natural" uncola in time for the brand's 77th birthday. Created by Y&R San Francisco, the ads follow a theme we've already seen in badland, where the idea of freshness and being natural is depicted with the product being harvested on farms and sold at farmers markets. Natural ingredients include: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavors and potassium citrate.

Although not everyone is buying into the all natural claim. Last month the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) claimed it was planning to sue 7UP’s manufacturer, Cadbury Schweppes, unless the company dropped the claim.

"Pretending that soda made with high fructose corn syrup is 'all natural,' is just plain old deception," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "High fructose corn syrup isn’t something you could cook up from a bushel of corn in your kitchen, unless you happen to be equipped with centrifuges, hydroclones, ion-exchange columns, and buckets of enzymes."

On the other side of the coin, you've got CP+B's "Sublymonal" campaign for Sprite. The concept plays off a combination of Lymon, Sprite's proprietary lemon-lime flavor formula, the old tagline, "Obey your thirst" (which has been shortened to "Obey"), and a parody of the concept of subliminal advertising.

The ads are, well, typical Crispin.
This is the agency's first work for the brand since winning the account last September.

Coke and CP+B believe the interactive elements of the ads will capture the attention of the drink's core demographic of 14 to 24 year olds.
"As a brand that focuses on young people, Sprite deserves arresting advertising that cuts through the monotony of ordinary commercials," said Don King, Sprite's North American brand director. "Because our new "subLYMONal" campaign overtly parodies the concept of subliminal advertising and acknowledges up front that the commercials contain hidden content, we are sure that people will want to interact with this advertising."

The campaign includes TV spots, print, and outdoor leading traffic to Sublymonal.com, a microsite created by AKQA, San Francisco. A teaser ad was aired in the first weeks of May during Lost.

Sprite ran a quick ad for a fictional company that is in the series "Lost". A URL at the end of the spot pushed viewers to Sublymonal.
Many viewers eagerly got online and typed in the URL without knowing it was for Sprite. I was one of the lemmings, curious as to what I might find.

This mysterious web site, already detailed on Flickr, started me on a series of Google searches and LOST fan site visits that merely confused me all the more. The only thing I know was that I spent a lot of time following up on the URL from the "fake ad" and there was no Sprite/consumer payoff of any kind.

The ads aren't really subliminal as they all begin with a voiceover that says, "Welcome to 'SubLYMONal' advertising. For best results, do not blink."
The commercials even indicate that they are "DVR Ready," attempting to get people to record and replay them to discover embedded content within.
Each spot closes with the words, "SubLYMONal Message Complete."

The one other big market uncola left in the trinity is Pepsi's Sierra Mist, which has been running the Mist-Takes campaign featuring comedians since early 2005. (Type Sierra Mist into the search box at the top right for the spots.)

7UP ads:

Sprite ads:

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malkie66's picture

I've just done the business on that lame 7up commercial - 8up commercial

Dabitch's picture

eeevil eviiil Malkie. ;)