GMO’s Gangster Rap

New Citra Campaign Centers on Wise Guy
SAN FRANCISCO–Goldberg Moser O’Neill’s latest effort for Coca-Cola’s Citra soft drink brand introduces a notorious thirst gangster named “Cotton Mouth.”
TV, radio and outdoor ads are being supported by a media budget of about $40-50 million. The tagline remains, “No thirst is safe” [Adweek, March 8].
The work is a departure from last year’s lighthearted, teen-oriented ads that launched the citrus-flavored soda in select markets nationwide.
“Cotton Mouth” makes his debut in a 30-second black-and-white spot. He’s seen walking down a city street, dressed to the nines in a pinstriped suit and wing tips. He buys a newspaper, and smirks when he sees an article about his release from prison on the front page. He gets into his 1930s-era car, but freezes when he hears the sound of a can opening. Looking in the rearview mirror, he sees a can of Citra (in color). Before he can escape, a Citra “car bomb” rips through the vehicle, completely drenching him.
“We wanted to create … advertising that stood out from the cluttered [beverage] category,” said Paul Carek, associate creative director at GMO, San Francisco. “We’ve found [in focus groups] that those who try Citra are willing to buy it again.”
At least one more TV spot is in production, Carek added.
Radio spots feature a pair of Citra tough guys confronting various gangsters, including “Parched Throat” and “Dry Mouth,” in an effort to stamp out thirst. The bad guys are accused of making people desperately thirsty through activities such as mountain biking and rock concerts.
Outdoor executions leave the gangster theme behind; one features a wrecking ball about to crash into a wall emblazoned with the Citra tag.