Real Life, Animated

Drawing on The Wind in the Willows children’s cartoon for inspiration, Deutsch has created a Snapple campaign with a twist on the show’s utopian world that showed kids how to get along in life.

On June 18, the New York-based agency will bow four 30-second spots exclusively on MTV for Snapple’s newly repackaged Elements line of juices, which come in 10 flavors: Velocity, Volcano, Voltage, Spark, Fire, Meteor, Rain, Sun, Diet Air and Diet Sky.

The animated work features four ne’er-do-wells who move from the “woodlands” to share a run-down apartment in the big city.

Using the line “Natural energy for an unnatural world,” the four characters — Grumpy Gopher, Sinister Rabbit, Mr. Weasel and Happy Squirrel — drink Elements to muster energy to meet life’s everyday challenges, such as chasing babes, paying the rent and watching TV.

In one spot, Gopher comes into the living room and reveals that he “did a little acting in the erotic arts,” and pops in a video of his activities.

Rabbit and Weasel slink off in disgust after a few seconds. “You try being broke and in college,” Gopher protests as Squirrel retorts, “But you never made it to college.”

In another commercial, the four characters sneak out of the apartment down the fire escape when their landlord comes knocking for the rent.

A third ad shows the pals cruising in a car that sports a bumper sticker reading, “Pull my finger.” Weasel makes a verbal pass at a female pedestrian, who sprays him with a noxious substance.

Consumers ages 15-24, skewing male, are the target in a category in which Elements’ competitors include Pepsi’s SoBe, Arizona’s line of herbal drinks and, to a lesser extent, the “high-energy” KMX from Coke and Red Bull.

With a wink at the latter two brands’ positioning, a fourth ad for Elements shows the characters planning some extreme-sports activities like water skiing behind an aircraft carrier, until the conversation alone tires them out.

Senior copywriter Mark Koelfgen and art director Tuesday Poliak said Elements is positioned in a way that playfully pokes fun at the energy-drink category.

“The message is that natural energy is not something you need for paragliding off a glacier,” Koelfgen said, “but for stuff you really do, like staying up until 3 a.m. watching TV.”

“No one talks to this audience using the combination of animation and real-life situations,” added Koelfgen, who drew the rough sketches of the characters.

He and Poliak wrote the dialogue, which includes a line in which Squirrel is told he may have to sell another one of his kidneys to pay the rent. When he asks if they grow back, one of his cohorts responds, “Like hair.”

“The ads have a humorous, streetwise feel and will resonate well with our target,” said Maura Mottolese, Snapple vp, marketing. “The creative clearly demonstrates in an offbeat way that Elements provides energy for everyday life.”

Deutsch is also handling media planning and buying for the campaign, which includes outdoor ads in New York’s Soho and Venice Beach, Calif.

Billings were undisclosed, but Snapple spent nearly $10 million on media last year, according to CMR.