Ashley Lynch - Gingerbreadgirl Productions

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Sprite afraid of a little fizz in the eye

Recently a leaked Sprite ad banned from German television surfaced on the internet. The long and short of it showed a girl orally pleasing her boyfriend but all the while really wishing she had a Sprite. Suddenly a sprite bottle appears and explodes fizzy drink all over her eager face. So much for subtlety.

It didn't take long for the ad to rise to popularity on YouTube and receive scathing commentary on news sites like The Huffington Post. It took even less time for Sprite to jump into action and order all the mirrors of the ad blocked citing "third party Copyright infringement." None of this is surprising.

Even less surprising is that the ad is a fake. It's not the product of a disconnected arm of German marketers, but of New York independant filmmaker Max Isaacson. Max issued a press statement acknowledging that he "directed and produced the fake Sprite ads" as well that "there was no involvement from The Coca-Cola Company." He went on to say, "I am frankly quite surprised that spots of this nature were so quickly and easily believed to be legitimate. I hope all the parties involved will understand that this was a simple mistake that went much too far too fast, and that it is now made clear that these were not real commercials, nor were they ever produced with intention of being taken as such." Sounds to me like Max is suddenly under threat of real litigation for damages to Coca-Cola's product.

But really, what is Sprite so afraid of? Of course the crass ad doesn't show their product in a wholesome way, but it doesn't denigrate it either. It connects the drink with sex like soft drink advertisers have been doing for decades, just in a more frying-pan-over-the-head kind of way. You can't buy advertising like this. If Sprite can stop worrying about their image for one moment, they'll see that Isaacson has done them a huge favour and given them huge unpaid publicity. Everyone is talking about Sprite and they get to distance themselves from the ads as illegitimate. Take into account a majority of the audience that viewed the ad. This is the YouTube audience... young people who are defining what's cool. If Sprite really wants to define itself as a young, hip drink as they've been attempting to do for some time now, they should be embracing this debacle, not lawyering up.
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