Looking to further Sprite’s longstanding presence within hip-hop culture, the Coca-Cola Co. has partnered with tastemaker music magazine The Fader on a new campaign for the lemon and lime-flavored soda called “Obey Your Verse.” Last week, Coke unveiled a collection of limited-edition Sprite cans printed with the signature lyrics of rappers Nas, Drake, Rakim, and the Notorious B.I.G, which will be available in stores nationwide throughout the summer.
Created by New York City-based ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, the “Obey Your Verse” campaign elicited The Fader’s services in facilitating the licensing and clearing of the 16-song lyrics — including “Started From The Bottom” and “Lyrically I’m supposed to represent”, to name a few — for usage on the cans, by way of the publication’s relationships with music publishers.
Additionally, The Fader has produced four Sprite-sponsored mini-documentaries which will begin rolling out over the next several weeks. Spanning all generations of hip-hop, the documentaries will spotlight legendary MC Nas, hip-hop’s man of the moment Drake, as well as emerging talents Isaiah Rashad and Vince Staples. Each short film was filmed in the aforementioned artists’ hometowns: New York City, Toronto, Chattanooga, and Long Beach, respectively.
“Sprite as a brand is very reflective of The Fader as a brand,” said Andy Cohn, President and Publisher of The Fader in a call to BevNET. “Sprite has always embraced artists in very early stages in their career and [Isaiah Rashad and Vince Staples] are artists we identified as doing very interesting things especially with their lyrics, and were very true to themselves. That fits with what Sprite is and stands for as a brand.”
Kimberly Paige, vice president of Sprite Brands and Flavors at Coca-Cola North America, stressed the importance of having “one foot in pop culture and one in subculture at all times.”
“That’s part of the beauty of the culture,” said Paige. “You have talent with mass appeal and scale, but a lot of what’s keeping the uniqueness and interest in it are the artists that are coming up next.”
Sprite and The Fader have a history that dates back to the mid-1990s, when Fader co-founder Rob Stone worked on the brand’s “Obey Your Thirst” campaigns in its early years. More recently, Sprite partnered with the magazine to produce a series of documentaries and photo galleries highlighting emerging musical talent out of South Africa.