Ogilvy Supports Sprite’s ‘Thirst Out’

NEW YORK Looking to build on the momentum of its current “Miles Thirst” ads, Sprite on May 1 will launch an eight-month promotion called “Thirst Out.”

The contest, running under the caps of 20-oz. bottles, will dangle free Blockbuster movie and video rentals, Musicmatch downloads and Midiringtones cell phone sounds. The promotion “fits into the fabric of influencer teens’ everyday lives, leverages our brand new spokesman and, we hope, will build brand loyalty over time,” said Lisa Speakman, senior brand manager of Sprite at Coca-Cola Co.

New Sprite ads, via Ogilvy & Mather in New York, touting the effort will break May 24. A 30-second TV spot shows the smart-mouthed action figure Miles Thirst playing video games with two friends. When one wins the game they’re playing, Thirst asks, “Well, what prize did you win?” Thirst goes on to give him a hard time about his “No prize-winning victory.” The other friend, meanwhile, wins a free Blockbuster rental after opening his Sprite. Two new radio ads support. “Obey your thirst” remains the tagline.

Sprite.com will also be relaunched on May 1 as a virtual representation of Thirst’s crib, complete with online games, a blog and other new attractions. The promo, which offers 52 million prizes, will get significant play within the new design.

Speakman called the new ads, which also star NBA rookie LeBron James, the highest rated in recent history. “Our internal brand health scores are increasing on the Sprite brand. This indicates the marketing is having its desired effect over time,” she said. “I believe it’s giving us the lift we’re looking for. I’m excited about the momentum we have.”

Sprite is the fifth best-selling soft drink in the U.S., despite losing 5 percent of its volume in 2003, per Beverage Digest, Bedford Hills, N.Y. It spent $39 million on media last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.