Justin Timberlake Is Back for Bai, and He’s Weirdly Obsessed With the Fruit He ‘Invented’

Follows up his 2017 Super Bowl ad with Christopher Walken

Timberlake revisits his odd social media moment of inventing the braspberry. Bai

Justin Timberlake feeds “braspberries”—blueberry-filled raspberries, which the pop star introduced for some reason last year on his Instagram feed—to an anchorman in Bai’s send-up of cable-news bulletins.

Brian Huskey, so amusing as a dad-rapper in Toyota’s “Swagger Wagon” and humanizing CollegeHumor’s “If Google Was a Guy,” plays the TV journo, who valiantly tries to keep his mouth shut.

To be clear: Bai is not introducing a braspberry-flavored beverage. Instead, the spot draws a parallel between Timberlake’s freaky fruit combo and Bai’s ability to offer tasty, 5-calorie drinks made without artificial sweeteners.

That’s a stretch. But … it’s got Timberlake, and he’s both amusing and kinda creepy, mumbling about braspberries, and shoving fruit into his co-star’s face.

“The newsroom idea came from a simple pun (‘This just in!’) on Justin’s name,” says Chad Portas, creative chief at Bai’s in-house agency, BxG@Bai. “At Bai, we cracked the combination of great taste and good for you. On social media, Justin cracked the combination of blueberries and raspberries. Mother nature has a way of bringing great things together, and it’s rare that a celebrity’s natural social presence syncs up perfectly with a brand’s product and personality.”

As you might recall, the brand named Timberlake its “Chief Flavor Officer” a while back and memorably paired him with Christopher Walken in Super Bowl 51’s “Jentlemen” ad. “This Just In,” the new commercial breaking today, marks the singer’s first appearance for Bai since then.

“We’ve been working with Justin behind the scenes for the last several months in preparation for his big return,” Portas says. “In addition to the TV spot, you’ll see more activity on Justin’s social channels, a consumer sweepstakes at retail with the opportunity to win a VIP experience at one of his shows, as well as some other big surprises.”

Hmm, we wonder what those “surprises” could be? Maybe Timberlake adds strawberries into the mix and invents fruit salad?

The push targets “older millennials” who are “smart smart about what they consume and the brands they choose to purchase,” says Portas. “They care about what they put in their body and have moved away from things like sugar and artificial sweeteners.”

Timberlake appeals to this cohort, Portas says, because the group and brand value authenticity, and the spot trades on the star’s personality and genuine interests (which include putting one fruit inside another, apparently).

“We had a great time on the set,” he says. “There were a lot of braspberries made that day—and a lot of fingers stained.”


Creative Agency: BxG@Bai
Client: Bai
Production Company: Smuggler
Director: Benji Weinstein
Chief Creative Officer: Chad Portas
VP of Marketing: Carla O’Brien
VP of Brand Communications: Alana Radmin Oxfeld
Creative Directors: Nicholas Nelson, Joshua Bean
Senior Director of Delivery: Sharon Chabot
Senior Copywriter: Trevor O’Brien Jones
PR: Alison Brod Marketing + Communications

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.