Y&R and VML Ask the Internet to Hydrate Ahsanti

By Erik Oster 

Y&R New York and VML launched an unusual social component for First Lady Michelle Obama‘s Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) “Drink Up” initiative, partnering with Ashanti to release a “dehydrated” version of the singer’s new single and music video, which fans can bring to life with their “#DrinkUpAshanti” tweets.

The song is presented in low quality and the music video is absent its full color scheme at DrinkUpAshanti.comUsers who tweet “#DrinkUpAshanti” can help “hydrate” both, and the full-quality versions of each will be released based on how quickly Ashanti fans post using the hashtag. Y&R introduces the concept in the pre-roll ad above, with Ashanti offering a more full explanation in the introductory video below. It’s a strange approach, with the connection between the approach and the message tenuous at best. Ashanti has previously collaborated with the organization, contributing to the 2014 PHA compilation album “Songs for a Healthier America.”

“This collaboration with Ashanti is a whole new way for a brand and an artist to work together, and we are looking forward to seeing how quickly Ashanti’s fans can make her newest single drop,” said PHA chief marketing officer Drew Nannis.

“I love that my song is being used to encourage people to make a really easy choice: drinking more water every day,” Ashanti said. “It’s even more rewarding when it’s being done in a creative, positive way. Drinking water is in … it’s just cool and sexy. You are what you drink, so drink up. It’s also a pleasure to work with the First Lady again to help make the healthy choice the easy.”