The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Schhhh … You Don’t Know Who!
March 6, 2008, 7:24 am
Filed under: Comment

Dog Swim

So when I was in Melbourne last year, the guys were also working on a brand campaign for Schweppes drinks.

[That’s the entire range of Schweppes drinks, including the pink [grapefruit], red [raspberry], green [lime], orange [orange], off-white [ginger beer], white coloured [lemonade/tonic] variants]

This category is always hard because it’s so easy to slip into parity type of ideas – and it was made doubly difficult because Schweppes wanted the campaign to continue with an idea they’d had for years called Schweppervescence.

One of the big problems was that whenever someone was asked what they thought Schweppervescence meant, there would be a different answer – so the first task was to try and get some sort of consistency of opinion.

After numerous backwards and forwards discussions [including the dismissal of any product ‘benefit’ that wasn’t relevant across the whole brand range] what everyone agreed was that this ‘idea’ was based around feelings – especially things like Optimisim, Innocence, Simplicity, Freedom and Refreshment – so the challenge was to develop a way that would allow these to come to the fore but in an interesting, relevant and emotional way.

Now the thing is, ‘refreshment’ is an attribute many brands try and own/claim [especially beverage brands] so the starting point was to find out what people actually thought this word meant – and what came out was very interesting.

To cut a very long story short, the best way to describe what people regard as real refreshment is ‘a moment of explosive impact’.

It’s not slow, it’s fast.

It’s not passive, it’s active.

It’s not controlled, it’s alive.

In essence, you are consumed by it – your senses are overwhelmed – and you are left feeling very, very alive, even if that sensation only lasts a second.

So with all that [there’s a whole lot more but I can’t be arsed to write about the connection between Australian summers, school holidays, infectious experiences, simple pleasures, swimming pools and the sensation you get when bubbles touch the gap between your top lip and nose] an idea was created that aims to help associate Schweppes with a ‘feeling’ rather than the usual ‘lifestyle’ bollocks that most beverage brands try and flog.

OK, so now I’ve got all that out the way, let me introduce you to Schweppervescence [the cinema cut no less, ha!]

Yes I admit it’s abit Fallonesque, plus it’s just a TV ad  [though it’s the start of many things they’re going to be doing supposidly] and refreshment is condition of entry [but at least it’s relevant, not like Drum Playing Gorilla’s] however there’s a genuine insight driving it, the emotion is genuine and not contrived [like some of the rubbish Coke do in Oz] and the execution is beautiful and interesting so hopefully it will start to help differentiate Schweppes from their competitive set, make them be seen as a major brand again and then more pragmatic work [and positioning] can follow.

Anyway I don’t give a fuck if you don’t like it [I know Age in particular, HATES IT, ha] – I love it – especially when you compare it to the bollocks Schweppes had been putting out recently – so congrats to all involved, especially Ben, Kate and Karen who fought like madfolk to get it past the plethora of obstacles continually put in their way.

31 Comments so far
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you like recycling dont you campbell. isnt that pretty much the same insight you had for the original tango campaign?

fucking love the spot, well made, well put together and well interesting.

could it be for any drink brand?

sure but like you said, its different to the usual “hi nrg” lifestyle shit you get thanks to a lovely tone and pace plus when you have some bollocks like schweppervescence to contend with, its amazing something so beautiful came out of it.

and a special thanks for not boring the fuck out of me with the cultural insight shit you hinted at, after dodds “marketing is the daddy of advertising” debate with mortimer, i think that would of pushed me over the edge.

Comment by andy@cynic

HAHA i knew this bound to happen sooner or later! Oh shit!!! hehehe

to be honest, I don’t HATE it, I was just really pissed off they used such a great song in the wrong context.

It cuts through nicely on TV though.

Comment by Age

for a moment age, i thought you were “campbell in waiting” then you fucking wimped out. pathetic.

if you think its shit, say it but have a better reason for it other than “i dont like the song they used” because while music helps explode the emotion, it should never just be the idea.

and if you dont like this, youre going to fucking detest our upcoming virgin spot 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

I like to think of myself as an Cynic in waiting.

The brains of Campbell, the women of Andy… ultimate.

I fucking LOVE the song they used, it’s the fact that they used it that annoys me. The lyrics are just not relevant. That and the fact that Schweppes have always told us they mean one thing, now they mean another.

Is this a new positioning they are sticking with now?

Comment by Age

ask campbell, i have no idea, but it has to be a better fucking positioning than all the other shit they and other soft drinks companies use. its more fucking honest for a start. and let me tell you write now age, i am the brains, campbell just has the smile.

Comment by andy@cynic

no arguments there Andy… with regards to the work, not Rob! hehehe!

Comment by Age

lets all remember, its just an ad. it could be more, it should be more, but for reasons i am dont know its just a fucking ad which, for the record, i think is fresh, beautiful and interesting and will hold peoples attention and make them maybe feel a bit better towards schweppes which is good as it hasnt had a “home” in peoples minds for a long time. its what they do next that we should evaluate, this is just a step but by then campbell will be out of the picture so we can both lay in with both feet 🙂

not that i protect him if i think hes been a twat. i dont even protect him when hes been good. its called being a real friend 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

Nice work Andy. I agree.

Comment by Age

You are Italian Age – swapping allegiance at the drop of a hat 🙂

Comment by Rob

Rob, I was referring to his comment about it just being an ad! You know I don’t play favourites, but IF I did, it would be you mate! 😉

Comment by Age

It could be because I am currently reading page after page of Microsoft research but I would put money on Fallon London hating you. First you show them up with a better positioning for Sony and now you make a ad that’s as nice as their beloved Balls spot but to me, with more relevance.
I have read Age’s comments and understand what he is saying and to be fair, you cover most of them off as well, but it still makes me feel good towards Schweppes and that’s something I never thought I’d ever do because I never gave them a second thought.
For a multi variant brand spot I like it but as Andy say’s it’s just an ad and what they do next will determine if the client really “gets it” or were just seduced by the lovely executional idea.
Back to the charts.

Comment by Pete

Nice , certainly does manage to give a new perspective on ‘refresh’ 🙂

Its actually refreshing !

Comment by bhaskar

pete – is that a planner’s way of bragging about new business – dropping in “I am currently reading page after page of Microsoft research”? ha!

rob, you know my thoughts on the ad. i found it interesting that andy echoed what i was saying: could it be for any drink brand?.

and whether it’s beautiful or not, if you’ve got the strategy and the positioning right, then its “success” will be obvious in more ‘rational’ ways, which is the nice difference between art and advertising – you can plot ‘success’ a little easier.

Comment by lauren

I agree with you Lauren [and Age] however there’s a hell of a lot of brands which could be regarded as being ‘parity’ products and it’s their marketing, packaging, design and distribution that helps create their differentiation.

I’m not saying this is a good thing – infact I find it lazy – however in the defence of the campaign, regardless of how obvious the positioning is [ie: refreshment] the tone, pace and relevance of insight could – over time – help differentiate Schweppes from the competition in the same way that Melbourne has been able to carve an emotional differentiation from the rest of Australia.

I know this sounds like a cop-out – and maybe it is – however every journey needs a first step which is why I think for a brand television commercial … for carbonated beverages … it’s a pretty decent starting point.

Could it of been better?
Could it of been done in a different way?
Is ‘Refreshment’ a generic positioning?

Yes … yes … yes … but when every other ‘beverage company’ now talks about refreshment in a contrived [as Schweppes used to] or ‘relief from heat’ kinda way, I think this literal interpretation might just help reconnect.


As Andy say’s … it’s just an ad but it is something that I believe will get the average punter on the street [or should I say in front of the cinema screen] thinking ‘nice’ which is more than Schweppes have had for donkey’s years.

Will this turn it into sales?

Well that’s a whole different argument, hahaha!

Comment by Rob

Nice piece of work, nice piece of thinking…maybe I’d have liked to have learned something new about Shweppes, but in the end, I wanted to watch it again, it makes me like Shweppes more and it absotely nails what it’s like to be around Shweppes.

Comment by northern

Again – it’s just an ad – it’s goal was to help people think more positively towards the brand given it had lost it’s relevance over the past few years.

For me it’s an interesting bit of emotional film which – as I’ve said before – stands out from most other beverage companies because it’s tone & pace is differentiated.

Is that enough? Nope. But sometimes situations [or realities] conclude to ensure you can’t say anything new … or nothing new that would have any real relevance to the public.

I am fine with people not likeing it – but I do, but then I would, wouldn’t I? 🙂

Comment by Rob

Its certainly a step forward for Schweppes, and it works well.

I agree with Northern that I feel like I wanted to learn something new; but hopefully that will follow in the next ads.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I think it’s an interesting point though – I really like the ad by the way, let’s be clear – do people out there really care if it’s generic or not? A big part of me says no – just like no ne cares what you’re positioning is, only your position. Most of our relationships are intuitive, body language rather than verbal. As long as FEELS different, the tone and delivery stuff I mean, isn’t that enough?
I don’t love Mrs Hovells because I know she gets ready a certain way every day – I think she’s dead fit, she’s the nicest person I know…..and then there’s a chemistry I’ve never had with anyone else – that’s the non-copyable bit. Does that make sense?
I really admire all that Honda work, but as far as I can see, people just really like the ads, they don’t really notice it’s about brand insights, rather than consumer……

Comment by northern

Great point NP … one I wholeheartedly agree with but that still doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and move things onwards and forwards because not only does it aid progression, it can instigate positive change and I believe brands can do this and can make people care about its view/position as long as they convey an issue that is relevant to peoples lives and culture rather than the usual self congratulatory bollocks.

Comment by Rob

Logically speaking, most drinks brands are going to want some kind of refreshment positioning; and they are inevitably going to overlap.

I like the ad, it gets the message across and it reminds me of a brand I didn’t really consider. What it does next will help to cement or spoil that ‘chemistry’ that Northern talks about.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

one should be carefull not to mistake aiding greater tolerance for a brand with progression towards a brand. It seems these two terms get mixed up often( perhaps not in this case) when people in adland discuss movement with regards to brands.

that is why as, stated above, this can not be the only thing done. it’s like a fruitsalade and mayonaise. both start off with separate ingriedients, but one ends up via emulsion being something new (aka there is movement), while the other does nothing, it’s just pieces of fruit, only in a bowl…

Hmmm still seem to be anchoring Masterchef, but bottom line…if they don’t do more then this ad Schweppes sucks balls and are pissing away money (even if it is an ok ad)

Comment by niko

Bubbles like no other. Actually it’s true, I don’t know if it’s the nature of the carbonation or the combination of that and Schweppes’s non-sweet flavours but their bubbles are different so it’s a great angle to exploit and visually arresting.

I like it, as you know, but I just wish they’d avoided the coloured ballooons at the start because that risks triggering thoughts of other ads without really getting across the idea that their are many flavours (the viewer doesn’t know whose ad it is at this point).

Moreover, if this is about achieving consistency, isn’t it better to focus on the one concept and deal with the multiple flavours in later executions?

Comment by The Daddy of Marketing

Maybe you could Tango it up a bit more, instead of balloons they get bottled… 😉

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I like it. It’s pretty, and that’s nice. It does feel a bit Sony paint, but hey, so do many ads these days. I personally think Schweppervescence is not something to be walked away from, and I’m not sure that this captures what Schweppervescence is for me, but you can’t cater to all people and hey, it made me look and I enjoyed it – that’s bloody good. I’m just disappointed to realise that the beautiful song is off base, lyrics wise.

Comment by Angus

would people prefer it if had a depressing smiths soundtrack?

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Angus

1. I#m sure this is a good post
2. But I’m on holiday
3. I didn’t read it
4. ‘cos I’m shit faced


Comment by Marcus

that explains why this place has been almost serious recently marcus. come back soon for fucks sake.

Comment by andy@cynic

I worked out what it was I was trying to say about it yesterday:

Its exactly what the second Sony ad (paint) would have been like if Fallon took the good bits of balls instead of the bad bits!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I first read this post on my mobile where I can’t see Youtube clips yet. Its fab and I’ve blogged about it.

Comment by Charles Frith

[…] and did some stuff I’m proud of with people I still respect hugely … from SONY to VB to Schweppes [the ad is here as it’s gone from the post] … but because there was a time where they […]

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