Five times that fizzy pop has met pop culture

Pop culture provides the perfect backdrop for narrative spinning fizzy drink advertising executives

Five times Fizzy Pop has met Pop Culture.

PHD Manchester has paired up with AG Barr for an exciting new campaign involving its KA range of Jamaican soft drinks. This campaign will be known as the “Get Rated” campaign and will give talented urban musicians the chance to get their voices heard. They will get a platform to showcase their talent through a cross partnership with Capital Xtra and GRM Daily. Musical acts will be able to submit videos and audio that demonstrate their musical talents. Notably excellent content will then be broadcast on Capital Xtra and GRM Daily. This campaign is expected to have far reaching results, with the campaign being amplified through various social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter, signifying the grassroots talents feel of this campaign. The media campaign will be ran from the Manchester based PHD office, with the creative side being taken care of by integrated agency Multiply.

This is a brilliant example of the diverse talents and expertise of various companies combining to create an exciting collaborative project that may well be life changing for many aspiring urban musicians. This will be an exciting campaign for all companies involved. Adrien Troy, Head of Marketing at AG Barr, has stated that AG Barr are “excited about building on our strength in the urban music community, creating a special event and broadening our appeal to a wider audience”. This campaign will undoubtedly broaden the appeal of the AG Barr brand and harness brand loyalty for those affiliated with the urban music community. According to Managing Director at PHD in Manchester, Dani Briers: “KA’s consumers demand recognition of their own skills and talents so this campaign is designed to deliver just that, ultimately providing some real authenticity to KA, probably the most prized asset for a youth-orientated brand.” This is a clever, well thought out campaign that wholeheartedly recognises the importance in gaining youth loyalty within the soft drinks industry.

Soft drinks are synonymous in the marketing world with youth and youth culture, particularly music. You will never see a cosy TV ad sandwiched between Emmerdale and Coronation Street where a jumper wearing mum settles down in her comfy chair to enjoy a nice fizzy mug of fanta, cat on lap. Soft drinks aren’t comforting. Neither do they have that healthy lifestyle persona that drives outdoorsy juice ads; all beautiful glowing people running about on the beach with bright tropical parrots.

You don’t necessarily need soft drinks; they don’t quench your thirst in the way that water does. You can’t pretend that the bubbly sensations that they fire off in your taste buds are some sort of natural chemical reaction. Soft drinks Advertising Executives have to take a different, more creative approach. This is especially true in a more health conscious and media literate society. Narrative is more important than ingredients, taste or purpose.

Rollercoasters are named after soft drinks, giving the impression that an affiliation to a certain drinks brand is synonymous with a sense of adventure and excitement. Whenever somebody mentions riding the Pepsi Max at Blackpool pleasure beach, my mouth seems to fill with sugar and e numbers. I crave the stuff. In the age of twitter, soft drinks advertising has become ever more sophisticated with many prolific celebrities making non-too-subtle soft drink plugs via their twitter accounts.

I’ve therefore “popped” together a list of all the times soft drinks have met with pop culture, showing them to be the perfect fizzy blend:

  1. Pepsi has long strived to be associated with strong, outspoken female pop artists. Pepsi clearly wants to be seen as the ladette of the drinks industry, embodying confidence and a sort of raunchy daringness. Twentysomethings will remember The Spice Girls posing with their pepsi bottles, then Britney Spears, Shakira and so forth in a long and regal line of Fizzy Pop Princesses until we reach Katy Perry and her “hyped by halftime” commercial.    
  2. I kind of both love and hate how I associate Coca Cola with the beginning of Christmas, despite it being critically speaking a summer appropriate beverage. I still shriek and turn the volume up when the long awaited Coca Cola Christmas advert twinkles its way on to my telly. People forget, but Coca Cola even invented what we refer to today as the ultimate pop culture phenomenon: Santa Claus. Before Coca Cola brought him into their advertising, he wore green and was much leaner around the gut. Coca Cola like to associate themselves with tradition and quality, ie. Christmas, therefore asserting themselves as the fizzy drinks brand.  
  3. The rise of energy drinks as a more bubbly alternative to coffee has been marketing dynamite. A realistic advertisement for energy drinks would show a student crying tears of pure red bull minutes before a essay deadline. However, Advertising Executives have latched on to the notion that this would be a tricky lifestyle ideal to sell. Instead, Energy Drinks companies have drawn upon the vitality and stage presence of pop stars in order to sell the ideal of bottled zest and exuberance. For example, pop star Rita Ora is currently the face of Zoom energy drinks, whose slogan is “consume zoom, for that boom”. Much more appealing.  
  4. I have to say that despite all the shameless product placement, and E4 after school overkill, there will always be a special place in my heart for the New York based sitcom Friends. However, the sheer volume of beer plugged through that show is pretty insane. So much so that some scenes actually do appear to be more like an advert for a particular brand of beer than a scene that is actively moving the plot along. For example, a trip to London results in outspoken praise for Boddington’s beer from Joey who passionately declares that: “I’d walk back to London for another frosty one of those bad boys”. As an experiment, dust off your old Friends VHSs, and count the number of scenes which include the central characters necking down a few cheeky Budweisers. Friends is perhaps the ultimate televisual lifestyle porn of the 90s and by associating brands with the fun and ultimately satisfying narrative, this rubs off positively on the narrative of the brand.
  5. I have to say that Dr Pepper is probably my favourite fizzy beverage however the 2014 advert that included Pitbull staring wistfully off into the sunset, speaking about the concept of dreams was memorable for all the wrong reasons and was heavily parodied. Here, Dr Pepper was borrowing from perfume advert territory. All vague whispery philosophy and mysticism. Not comfortable ground for the fizzy drinks industry, who really just need to keep things chilled.  

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