Vitaminwater “Lambert”

It ought to be an Olympic event in its own right: promoting a brand’s official-sponsor status in a way that doesn’t sound pompous. The Canadian campaign for Vitaminwater, via Cleveland-based agency Brokaw, merits a medal for avoiding the humorlessness that often seems to envelop anything connected to the Games. Yes, there’s something a bit cutesy about the bit of copy (beneath the Olympic rings) identifying Vitaminwater as “proud sponsor and bff.” (The whole “bff” routine has lost whatever charm it may have had when it was novel, which it no longer is.) But it’s preferable to the usual Olympic solemnity. And the warning against challenging Canadian medal-hopeful Michael Lambert “even in your imagination” is genuinely funny. With its rocket-powered snowboard, the visual assures us that Lambert is in on the joke. Meanwhile, the campaign’s “don’t try” motif (repeated in other ads featuring Canadian Olympic athletes) sets a good tone for the call to action, “try vitaminwater.” The brand gets to seem becomingly modest — it’s just asking us to “try” the stuff, after all — even as it basks in the reflected glory of some world-class athletes. If they happen to win some medals for Canada, which is hosting the Games, so much the better for all concerned. –Mark Dolliver