Sublymonal Sprite Advertising Campaign

Coca Cola’s Sprite brand has been relaunched in the United States with a television and web campaign called ‘Sublymonal Advertising’. Welcome to Sublymonal Advertising. Don’t Worry. It will only affect your brain. This is the world of the Sublymonal Spa, Sumo, Defibrillator, Greenhouse, introduced to the world through the Lost series.

Spa nurse adjusts the Sprite mixture

Sublymonal Spa TV

A man lying in a health resort is clad in clear plastic, with slices of lemon and lime covering his eyes. A nurse administers a tube that drips a mixture of lemon and lime juices into his mouth. As she leaves the tube moves so that the juice is now falling onto his eye. He flips a slice off his face to reveal a mouth eagerly slurping up the lemon/lime juice.

Sublymonal Sumo TV

Two sumo wrestlers run through a dark forest, one green (Lime) and one yellow (Lemon). In the middle of the forest a blue-tuxedo-wearing man suddenly appears sitting on a stump. As the two wrestlers come close to each other the shot includes two Volkswagen Beetles (yellow and green) racing towards each other with a sea in the background. The man is rapturously caught in their collision, his mind filled with lemon and lime imagery.

Sublymonal Defibrillator

A woman lies at the top of a flight of stone steps, exhausted, her red formal dress spread out around her. A miniature emergency van drives up. Two women step out and charge their defibrillator with lemon and lime. A voice intones, “Embedding Lymon”. They apply the paddles to her lips and to her tongue, sparking off a flurry of lemon and lime images in her mind. She awakes, totally refreshed.

Women revived by Sublymonal Defibrillation

Sublymonal Greenhouse

A worker in a hydroponics greenhouse waters his flowers with liquid from a Sublymonal backpack, distributing a mixture of green and yellow nutrients. As he waters each plant the syllables sub, lym, on and al are released by the flowers. The soundtrack is called ‘Time of the Season’, an a capella remix of the original performed by The Zombies.

Sublymonal Omnibus

Two 60 second Sublymonal films were made, one for cinema, one for television. Shots from the three 30 second ads are spliced in with another story in which a hydroponics worker discovers the power of lemon and lime juice on his plants. A samurai warrior slices lemons and limes suspended in the air.

The online Sublymonal campaign was first introduced through a website dedicated to fans of the television series, Lost. Advertisements for a fictional company, Hanso Foundation, began to introduce subtle references to the emerging Sublymonal campaign. Viewers were referred to, at which they were able to engage in clues relating to the television series. Over time the site morphed into a clearly-evolved advertising site promoting the new-look Sublymonal Sprite brand.

Visitors to the Sublymonal site are invited to enter passwords to interact with media-saturated screens. Key words are ‘Gulp’, ‘Belly’, ‘Chill’, “Defib”, “Pulse”, “Listen”, “108”, “Kicks”, “Spray”, “Belly”, “Bentley”, “Embed”, “Scan”, “Tongue”, and, no doubt many others. Other words bring up a narrated excerpt from Wikpedia’s dictionary. Visitors to the site are referred to the Lymonade videos at YouTube, auctions at Ebay, profiles of musicians such as Talib Kweli and Fonzworth Bentley. Try “Sprite”, “Good”, “Lymon”, “Love”, and “Heir Apparent”.

A Sprite drinker caught between Lemon and Lime Sumo Wrestlers
Hydroponics worker surprised by plants reception of Lymon

Sublymonal Credits

Sprite Can with new logoThe Sublymonal campaign was developed at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, by chief creative officer Alex Bogusky, creative director Tim Roper, copywriters Rob Strasberg and Franklin Tipton, art directors Geordie Stephens and James Dawson-Hollis, and senior agency producer Chris Moore.

Filming was shot by directing collective Happy via Smuggler with director of photography Martin Ruhe, executive producers Patrick Milling Smith and Brian Carmody, producers Jeff Miller and Allison Kunzman, and line producer David J. Bernstein.

Spotwelders editors were Haines Hall and Damion Clayton.

Visual effects were developed at Framestore New York.

Music was arranged by Walter Werzowa at Musikvergnuegen.

The Sublymonal web site was developed by AKQA, San Francisco.

10 Replies to “Sublymonal Sprite Advertising Campaign”

  1. The spa ad was so unpleasant and freaky that I will never buy another Sprite as long as I live. When the teeth appeared in the eye socket everyone watching that segment at my house groaned. It was horrible. The image will stay with me. If your goal was aversion to the product, It worked.

  2. A fascinating experimental advertising method. The advertisement really opens up a new way of viewing advertisement. Not only experiencing the ad, but looking from the outside in at the same time.

    The rule used to be never to confuse the viewers with obtuse messages. They just don’t have the time. But yet, more and more people (Generation Y and younger in particular) enjoy “filling in the blanks”, and take great pride in the feeling that they themselves have discovered something hidden from popular view. Jones Soda is a great example of being a successful early adopter of this principle. When they started up, the only place they marketed their soda was in fridges in skate shops and the like. No advertisements. They also promoted interactivity by showcasing customer-submitted photos on their bottles. It wasn’t until their identity and brand had developed enough trust with core, “outsider” consumer groups that they started going mainstream and hitting major grocery chains.

    Gen Y doesn’t like feeling being marketed to. They react negatively to things layed out right in front of them. Hence, the ongoing ____ of advertising becoming more and more abstract, until the actual subject of the advertisement becomes an undertone in the 30-second spot, with only brief (but unmistakable) nods to the brand or product. However, these spots must still be cohesive and maintain a consistant style so that they can be readily identifiable.

    All that to say, this is definitely not focused at the demographic that Bonnie is a part of. My mom and I recently went to see MI:3 and the 60 second advertisement was on. My mom was completely unimpressed, while I was totally engaged (I am 24). Now, granted, I cannot blanket a whole generation with saying that “they don’t get it.” There are some people of my parents’ generation that totally love these television spots. However, as a whole, they are not nearly as receptive to these “left-field”, boundary and expectation-bending media presentations. I think this can be translated into the movie realm and explain why Napolean Dynamite is such a big hit with the 30-something-or-less crowd (but not universally so). The movie completely re-defines what a movie experience is all about, at least one that is presented nationally. Ebert gives it low marks, yet it is now entrenched in cultural media. Not yet as time-honored as Office Space, but it has a place in the same category as a necessary piece of Americana to imbibe.

    Bottom line: New viewers, jaded with current media offerings, necessitate the development of outside-the-box thinking and marketing development.

  3. hi im looking for a picture of the sprite(elf thing) from the uk sprite adverts. please send me one if you can or tell me where i can find one.
    thanks x

  4. Dude,
    You guys brought back the Sumo Sprite ad! AWESOME! That has got to be your best ad! Everybody I know freaks out when they see the two sumo dudes crush that guy’s head & infuze him! Let’s hope we see more of that stuff!

    1. Maybe there were two websites? The website (that pulled data from wikipedia) was built by AKQA in SF and I was the solo engineer who wrote the backend. I still have the code sitting around here somewhere.

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