The Homeboys of Happyville

Boys just want to have fun–but when does mischief turn into mayhem? Due to the Columbine High School massacre, RC Edge cola toned down ads depicting the high jinks of small-town boys.
The campaign, from The Blum Group in New York, creates a fictional town called “Happyville,” where naughty teens, wired on the high-caffeine soda, wreak havoc on local girls, a goldfish and a marching band (shown here). The tagline: “Not just cola. Power cola.”
The print ads are set in a model train town, but the radio ads’ dialogue and sound effects make the pranks seem more real. After Columbine, one spot was cut and another seriously retooled.
While the agency declined to describe the original ads, agency president Alan Blum, who served as creative director and copywriter, said the shootings “dialed up our own sensitivity We’re not promoting rebellion with a capital R.”
The campaign targets boys. Print ads debut in the August issue of Spin, WWF, Transworld Skating, Electric Ink and Warp. Billings are $4 million. –Emily Fromm