Creativity

LeBron James Does Not Tell Fans to Drink Sprite in New Ads

Now He's Just Asking

By E.J. Schultz. Published on Oct 12, 2016

Editor's Pick

Longtime Sprite endorser LeBron James is making a softer, gentler pitch for the soda brand. "I never tell you to drink Sprite, even if I was in a commercial for Sprite, which I am," he says in a new ad. Instead, "I'd ask you."

The campaign, called "Wanna Sprite," attempts to use humor to give a somewhat mocking take on celebrity endorsements. The ad shows Mr. James refusing to read a "Drink Spite" cue card, while mingling with stereotypes of "cool influencer people," who predictably are holding bottles of Sprite.

The agency is Wieden & Kennedy, New York. The director is Neal Brennan, whose credits include co-creator of Comedy Central's "Chapelle's Show."

"We created this whole campaign to have a bit of fun with the idea of endorsements," said Danielle Henry, a group director-integrated marketing content at Coca-Cola North America. "A lot of brands use commercial endorsers, but the role of a Sprite endorser is to be unique and authentic and real."

Mr. James is, of course, one of the most powerful and sought-after brand endorsers in marketing. He has deals with Nike, Samsung, Beats, Verizon, Kia, Upper Deck and Blaze Pizza. Hillary Clinton even recently tapped him to help boost her campaign.

Mr. James began backing Sprite in 2003, the same year he entered the NBA. The 13-year-relationship is a rarity in an age when celebrities frequently switch allegiances. "There is belief in our relationship," said Bobby Oliver, director for Sprite and citrus brands at Coca-Cola North America. "He is very comfortable with us and what our brand stands for and how we go to market and we are very comfortable with him."

"From the beginning, this partnership with Sprite has always focused on being authentic. And I like that we got to have a little fun with that in these spots," Mr James said in a statement.

Read the full story on Adage.com.

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About

Credits

Date
Oct 12, 2016
Agency:
Wieden & Kennedy New York
Client:
Sprite
Executive Creative Director:
Karl Lieberman
Creative Director:
Caleb Jensen
Creative Director:
Jimm Lasser
Creative:
Brock Kirby
Art Director/Copywriter:
Chris Mendez
Interactive/Social Strategy:
Chris Mendez
Art Director/Copywriter:
Amy Wheeler
Interactive/Social Strategy:
Amy Wheeler
Producer:
Kristen Johnson
Account Team:
Jordan Muse
Account Team:
Jacque Parrish
Brand Strategist:
Brandon Thornton
Social Strategist:
Jessica Breslin
Assistant Producer:
Jordan Leinen
Assistant Producer:
Alexey Novikov
Art Producer:
Pietro Clemente
Interactive Producer:
Jen Vladimirsky
Digital Producer:
Tara Kennedy
Business Affairs Manager:
Patrick O'Donoghue
Business Affairs Manager:
Carolina Hernandez
Media Planning:
Karlo Cordova
Media Planning:
Branden Bouvia
Traffic Manager:
Sonia Bisono
Traffic Manager:
Andy Hume
Project Manager:
Alex Doomany
Head of Integrated Production:
Nick Setounski
Director of Art Production:
Deb Rosen
Head of Business Affairs:
Sara Jagielski
Production Company:
Caviar
Director:
Neal Brennan
Director of Photography:
Larkin Seiple
Executive Producer:
Michael Sagol
Executive Producer:
Jasper Thomlinson
Producer:
Tova Dann
Editorial Company:
Spot Welders
Managing Partner:
David Glean
Editor:
Kevin Zimmerman
Senior Producer:
Ellen Lavery
Assistant Editor:
Anchor Mak
VFX Company:
The Mill
Lead Flame Artist:
Chris Sonia
Flame Artist:
Kyle Zemborain
Flame Artist:
Dae Yoon Kang
Flame Artist:
Krissy Nordella
Flame Artist:
Marc Goldfine
Executive Producer:
Chris Kiser
Senior Producer:
Hayley Wallach
Song:
Cold LIke a Sprite Soda
Performed by:
Lil Yachty
Sound Mix Company:
Heard City
Mixer:
Eric Warzecha
Producer:
Talia Rodgers
Executive Producer:
Sasha Awn
Managing Director:
Gloria Pitagorsky
Sound Design Company:
Pirate Toronto
Auto-tune Audio Director:
Vanya Drakul
Auto-tune Audio Producer:
Maggie Blouin Pearl
Color Company:
Company 3
Colorist:
Tom Poole
Assistant Colorist:
Jenny Montgomery
Color Producer:
Clare Movshon
Photographer:
Emily Shur
Producer:
Meghan Gallagher
Web Developer:
Trent Johnson
Web Producer:
Pam Statz
QA:
Robb Hand
QA:
Rachel Mason

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