Mr. T Is a Wing Man in Lambesis’ Spot for Fuze

By Erik Oster 

In an idea straight out of a South Park parody of Family Guy, California-based agency Lambesis uses Mr. T to sell Coca-Cola iced tea brand Fuze. But Lambesis ratchets up the level of bizarreness by turning him into a butterfly.

When a woman sitting on a park bench pops open the beverage, a group of Mr. T monarchs emerge from the container and one stops by to give her his compliments on her choice of the “flavor charged Fuze.” Speaking in rhymes and extolling the beverage’s B-vitamins, he claims the only thing bolder than the beverage is T. himself.

The brief spot is, of course, steeped in the ridiculous in an attempt to stick in viewer’s minds, but can Mr. T really convince people to give the drink a go? Lambesis and Coca-Cola are betting he can give the struggling brand (down 18.2 percent in the most recent measured period, according to Chicago-based market research firm IRI) a boost. The digital campaign launched this week, supported by social, OOH and experiential elements, and will run through October, with the brand still evaluating whether or not it will roll out to broadcast and print.

“We were looking for somebody with high awareness, high likability and certainly a connection with someone who has a big, bold personality,” Geoff Henry, group director-tea, Coca-Cola North America, told AdAge. “Mr. T came back at the top of the list. In fact, ‘he pitied us for not calling him sooner.'”