Sprite Debuts Its First-ever Unified, Global Marketing Campaign ‘Heat Happens’




Coca-Cola is unveiling its first consistent, global ad platform for its $20bn Sprite brand. ‘Heat Happens’ will roll out across 200 markets, along with a new Sprite logo and visual identity. The historic campaign is the first created from scratch by WPP’s Open X team.

No matter where you are in the world, you’ll soon hear that a cold Sprite is the antidote for when ‘heat happens.’ Sprite’s new campaign, which debuts in the US and India this month, says the world is more heated than ever – in both the physical and mental sense. The best way to stay cool is to crack open a Sprite, per the new campaign, which will hit all 200 markets and regions where the soft drink is available.

This historic effort is the first global brand platform for Coca-Cola’s second-largest trademark brand. It is also the first effort created entirely by WPP’s new network Open X team. Coke’s $4bn piece of business was the most hotly contested account win of 2021. WPP was named the winner in November.

Sprite’s packaging is also receiving a worldwide facelift. This includes a new logo, simplified graphics and an increased focus on sustainability. Notably, Sprite is phasing out its recognizable green plastic bottles in favor of clear bottles, which are easier to recycle. The bottles will also feature a call-to-action that says: ‘Recycle me.’

This new approach to marketing and packaging “is going to go a long way in creating that consistency of consumer experience across the world – which Sprite has never had,” Sprite’s global brand director Shrenik Dasani told The Drum.

Sprite’s unified campaign follows Coca-Cola’s global launch of ‘Real Magic’ for its Coke trademark last year.

Coca-Cola wouldn’t quantify the increased marketing spend behind the brand other than to say it is significant. Overall, Sprite is a top priority for the beverage giant as the $20bn brand continues to see substantial growth. In the US market, for example, trademark Sprite dollar sales were up 8% in 2021 and 18% through March 2022, per Beverage Digest. “It’s one of their biggest and most important trademarks,” says Duane Stafford, editor at Beverage Digest. “Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta are the big three.”

Coke targets gen Z with social media ‘heat hacks’

Coca-Cola is looking to build on Sprite’s strong momentum by targeting gen Z with ads that are playful and relatable. TV ads feature “moments of heat,” where Sprite helps the protagonist stay cool. In one spot, a sister refrains from smashing her brother’s banjo. In another, a concertgoer makes a wise decision not to cut in line. One outdoor ad reads: “Wi-fi out. Wi-me and Wi-now?” Another: “When he said 5 minutes 45 minutes ago.”

Previously, Sprite had aligned itself with sports, positioning its products as the ideal post-workout refresh. NBA stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and, most recently, Trae Young have served as faces of the brand. Now, “moving beyond just physical allows us to expand the opportunities to engage with, and provide relief, during these moments for our consumers,” says Dasani. “We believe that gen Z consumers live in a world that’s more heated than ever before.”

Real-time social media marketing featuring ‘heat hacks’ will be at the center of the campaign. They will include offers for special concerts and events. Additionally, Sprite is launching an on-pack rewards program, which will allow fans “to scan for ways to help beat the ‘heat’ of everyday life, whether they are at home or on-the-go,” per the company.

Other notable changes: an increased focus on Sprite Zero Sugar, which will see a bold, black font on its packaging compared to original Sprite, which will have a white font. “Test results show it makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for,” says Dasani. Plus, consumers will notice the addition of a ‘bing bong bing’ jingle at the end of most TV ads and video content.

Overall, the new effort is “tailored to what we believe are gen Z lifestyle truths,” says Dasani. “Our ambition really is to engage generation Z and recruit them into a weekly ritual of consuming Sprite.”

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