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Sprite tries to reach Gen Z, millennials with QR codes, social spend honoring hip-hop’s 50th anniversary

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Beverage brand Sprite is diversifying its media mix to appeal to Gen Z and millennials while marking the 50th anniversary of hip-hop music.

Sprite has a 30-second ad spot that debuted earlier this month, featuring Nas, Rakim, Latto and GloRilla on connected and linear TV. It’s also advertising a 15-second version across Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. To differentiate its content strategy, Sprite is using Instagram Reels to highlight the celebrities it worked with on the campaign. On TikTok, Sprite published a slideshow, which has reached over 2.3 million views and 23,000 likes.

And despite some advertisers still sussing out Twitter, Sprite (and parent company Coca-Cola) are still seeing value in the platform. Sprite tweeted organically during the BET Music Awards on June 26 and had a notable sponsorship in the event ceremony itself when it bought a series during the show that featured Gen Z hip-hop artists sharing their stories about how they became interested in the genre.

“We’re leaning into where our consumers are and creating content based on their behaviors and what we believe resonate with them,” said A.P. Chaney, Sprite’s director of creative strategy. “We’re always reviewing and seeing how our consumers consume media, and that’s inherently where we would like to show up.”

To drive consumers to its website Sprite is using QR codes — a tactic Pepsi also used in its summer campaign with Bad Bunny. With this, Sprite is celebrating hip-hop’s 50th with its “Summer of Drops,” offering exclusive content, merchandise and event experiences.

Through the QR codes on packs of Sprite, the company is touting access to events and product drops, like signed merchandise such as Polaroids from Nas and slates from Rakim, GloRilla and Latto.

“We wanted something that consumers know how to use, that can react to, and get into our interface and be able to interact with all of our drops, that’s really why we use it,” said Chaney, noting that QR codes are becoming more accessible. The brand has been exploring new ways to engage consumers with its packaging since earlier this year while also testing its technology prior to the launch of this campaign. The company did not say how many people have scanned the codes.

It is unclear how much Sprite is spending on its marketing; Chaney declined to share exact figures. According to Vivvix, the brand has spent a little over $24 million on advertising so far in 2023.

The anniversary of hip-hop music is being celebrated by other brands, including Google, with out-of-home ads in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Florida and Chicago, especially around festivals focused on hip-hop, including the Governors Ball and Rolling Loud Miami. In addition, podcast platform Audacy advertises and organically posts on social media and streams audio illustrating how hip-hop has influenced people over time.

“Music sparks passion like few other art forms, and hip-hop has been driving global culture and commerce for 50 years and counting,” said Christopher Sealey, svp of marketing and creative director of Web3 software company OneOf. “Sprite is smart to combine cutting-edge digital tools with real-world experiences in its campaign, and smarter still to leverage the brand credibility brought by genre-defining artists like Rakim and Nas, two seminal MCs that the company has a long history with.”

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