NEW YORK This year’s Super Bowl viewers saw a group of lizards dancing with supermodel (and cell phone enthusiast) Naomi Campbell to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in a spot for Pepsi’s SoBe Life Water.
Directed by Peter Arnell, CEO of independent The Arnell Group here, the spot was the shop’s first work for SoBe. Arnell was handed the estimated $20 million business late last year without a review, per sources. Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty had handled the account. (BBH held the business for about a year but never produced any work for the client.)
The Super Bowl spot was just the beginning of a marketing push for the brand. Arnell’s second effort, which is set to launch on March 19 in New York’s Times Square and then move across the country, will focus on billboards that highlight the lizard, the Web site Thrillicious.com and show off the five SoBe flavors: blackberry grape, pomegranate cherry, orange tangerine, strawberry kiwi and passion fruit citrus.
“This billboard blitz will enable consumers to experience on a street level the uniqueness of SoBe, the SoBe lizards and the overall “Thrillicious” movement from New York to Los Angeles — no matter where they work or live,” said Massimo d’Amore, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, in a statement,
The dancing lizards are meant to represent the silhouette of a lizard that is seen on all bottles of SoBe.
“We created a series of characters that best represent the spirit of the product,” said Arnell. “There’s a great love for this type of character who is outrageous, underground and friendly but with an edge.”
Arnell, who designed Jackson’s Invincible cover art and marketing campaign, has big plans for the lizards. “They’re the Nike swoosh of SoBe. There will be merchandise and we’ll follow them around,” he said. “We’re not going to be the brand that works for them; they’re going to work for us.”
While Arnell is cagey about future plans, he does offer this hint: “All you need to do is think Disney.”