OMD NEW YORK / PEPSICO / 2019
The sparkling water category had seen a 20% jump from 2017, becoming a nearly $2B industry in the US, dominated by market leader, La Croix. With a cultural shift towards healthier beverage options to substitute soda, PepsiCo launched bubly in February 2018, a sparkling water in a variety of natural fruit flavors with no calories or sweeteners.
In the face of a cluttered category, bubly evaluated the competition and crafted their strategy to fill a void. PepsiCo identified an untapped, Millennial-driven audience who needed a break from the stresses of everyday life. To drive impact at launch, the objective was clear: leverage talent that resonated with millennial audiences and would get them to remember bubly, disrupt the mundane and consistently pop up in peoples’ social media feeds to gain awareness and initiate trial.
bubly tapped into a simple reality weighing on millennials: “adulting” is tough. From the grind of daily responsibilities to everyday stressors, life often gets in the way of play. With 58% of millennials stating their lives are more stressful than ever before , bubly saw an opportunity to make everyday life more playful with this audience they affectionately deemed as “Generation Play”.
Everything bubly did was with a laser focus on breaking up the mundane, and getting Generation Play to simply, "crack a smile." The brand brought this mission to life by partnering with influential talent who owned and embraced a similar "playful instigator" role in culture.
The average millennial spends at least one hour a day watching video online. Nearly 2/3 (63%) say they use video to keep up with celebrities and about 3 in 5 (61%) say they watch videos as a form of stress relief. With this in mind, bubly made sure that every partnership they created fully embodied the Brand, while every post, placement and action would prompt a refreshing break from the everyday.
From integrating American actor, comedian, singer, and bubly Brand Ambassador, Neil Patrick Harris, within Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show and massive social channels, to partnering with Late Night TV & YouTube Carpool Karaoke host, James Corden, to building out the brand’s persona on the world’s largest GIF platform, GIPHY, and coming full-circle with international crooner Michael Bubly – ahem, Michael Bublé with Ellen in his ear, bubly consistently showed up as the playful instigator.
With hyper-relevant partnerships and alliances, bubly strategically immersed itself into Millennials’ worlds throughout the year.
In February 2018, bubly paired Neil with The Ellen DeGeneres Show, launching within one of her most popular comedy segments to surprise unsuspecting shoppers.
In the months following, bubly and Neil continued to get fans to ‘crack a smile’ during ongoing moments within The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and a special singing telegram delivery with James Corden on The Late Late Show.
Bubly leveraged GIPHY’s paid platform to roll out 1000+ custom-branded GIFs, speaking in Millennial vernacular to hone in on adulting realities, like morning commutes or “Sunday Scaries.”
Then, in anticipation of the launch of bubly’s first ever Super Bowl commercial, the brand partnered with Ellen once again, this time to prove that bubly and new Brand Ambassador Michael Bublé were a powerful force with an unexpected play on words.
With high-profile partnerships that reinforced the brand’s voice in culture, bubly nearly tripled its market share in year one, becoming a $100MM sparkling water brand in its inaugural year.
Despite zero awareness, bubly experienced:
• +15pt awareness lift with Late Late Show
• 85% recall with Ellen
• Bubly vs. Bublé Super Bowl campaign increased brand awareness 2x (among exposed), ~77% (among Sparkling Water drinkers)
Drove cultural relevance:
• Positive opinion lifts: +20pt with Ellen , +8pt with Late Late Show
• #1 branded posts: @theellenshow Instagram, Late Late Show Facebook
• First brand to top 1B GIPHY Views
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