Watch out, weird brand Twitter, a new player has entered the game.
Vita Coco, an independent coconut water brand, took social media clapbacks to a new level today when the company offered to send a Twitter critic a jar of a social media staffer’s urine. Mildly disturbing and gleefully unapologetic, the power move instantly became an iconic moment in modern marketing.
We talked to the brand chief behind the company and today’s bizarre tussle, but before we get to that, let’s go back through exactly what happened.
Today, the brand launched a new campaign called “Impossible to Hate,” developed by agency Interesting Development. The campaign, as you’ll see in the videos later in this story, reportedly used a custom algorithm to find the most negative people on the Internet and see if they’d like the brand’s newest product, Vita Coco Pressed Coconut.
Beyond the spots, the company also planned to use its social channels to engage haters in real time. One of the first to get both barrels was self-described Twitter troll Tony Posnanski, who aired his grievances with coconut water earlier today:
A peace offering of free coconut water, unsurprisingly, did not appease him.
Back at Vita Coco headquarters, the marketing team gathered to plan the perfect response. The result: The Piss Heard ‘Round the World.
The brand was so proud of its piss jar, it even turned an alternate shot into the @VitaCoco profile pic:
No, this was not a rogue employee, and no, there will be no simpering brand apology. Vita Coco is proud of that viral urine bucket.
The woman in the shot is community coordinator Lane Rawlings, and the brand claims it really is her pee (we’re dubious, given the quantity, though the brand notes it has “unlimited coconut water in the office”).
Rawlings gets full credit for the idea, Vita Coco brand director Allison Finazzo tells Adweek.
“It was her idea,” Finazzo says. “She was like: ‘He says it tastes like piss. Let’s give him piss.'”
And piss he did take—at least digitally. And yes, he grudgingly gave the brand credit for a solid win, even if he’s still not on board with coconut water.
Not many brands would go to such an extreme, but Finazzo says Vita Coco has a strong but light-hearted personality that has been galvanized by its new “Impossible to Hate” ad campaign.
“As a brand we do have a really unique, irreverent tone, and we haven’t always had it so crytalized that we can express it clearly,” she says. “This campaign embodies the tone of the brand—evocative, direct, self-deprecating.”
Here’s a look at the ads in the campaign, which feature some of the most impossible-to-please internet critics getting a chance to weigh in on Vita Coco’s newest product.
As the brand looks to keep building on this campaign in new ways, will it be able to live up to its Day 1 viral urinary masterclass? Finazzo is confident the brand team will continue to deliver.
“The bar is set pretty high now,” she says, “but we think we can handle it.”