Sprite Launches Its First-Ever Unified Global “Heat Happens” Marketing Campaign

Coca-Cola unveils its first consistent global advertising platform for its $20 billion Sprite brand. “Heat Happens” will roll out to 200 markets, 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 to “heat”. Sprite’s new campaign, which debuts in the US and India this month, says the world is hotter than ever, both physically and mentally. The best way to stay cool is to open a Sprite, according to the new campaign, which will reach all 200 markets and regions where the soft drink is available.

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

Sprite’s packaging is also getting a global 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 toward creating that consistency of consumer experience across the world – which Sprite never had,” said Shrenik Dasani, Global Brand Director of Sprite at The Drum.

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

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

Coke targets Gen Z with social media ‘thermal hacks’

Coca-Cola is looking to leverage the strong momentum of Sprite by targeting Gen Z with playful and relevant ads. The TV commercials feature “heat moments”, where Sprite helps the protagonist stay cool. In one place, a sister refrains from breaking her brother’s banjo. In another, a spectator makes the wise decision not to wait in line. An outdoor advertisement reads: “Wi-fi out. Wi-me and Wi-now?” Another: “When it said 5 mins 45 mins ago.”

Previously, Sprite aligned with sports, positioning its products as the ideal post-workout refresher. NBA stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and more recently Trae Young have been the faces of the brand. Now, “going beyond the physical allows us to expand the opportunities to interact with our consumers and provide relief during these times,” says Dasani. “We believe Gen Z consumers are living in a hotter world than ever before.”

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

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

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

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.

William L. Hart