Sprite is using male-only and female-only couples to stress the alternative tastes of Chinese youth in its launch of new alcoholic and non-alcoholic baijiu flavoured drinks.
The campaign by MRM/McCann Shanghai introduces new drink combinations between Sprite and Jiang Xiao Bai, a popular brand of Chinese white spirit known as baijiu. This includes a baijiu-flavoured non-alcoholic Sprite and a lemon-lime flavoured alcoholic mixed drink branded under Jiang Xiao Bai.
An MRM/McCann release explains that "Sprite wanted to avoid a contrived message that would easily alienate its youth base. It instead wanted something that could inspire youth to mix and mash as they like, becoming a representation of being true to themselves."
So the "Mixing it up like this" campaign work features a variety of couples with slogans promoting alternative tastes. The below ad with a female couple reads, “it’s important not to follow suit”.
The next ad below says “the alternative in other people’s eyes is exactly the kind of alternative I like.”
But perhaps more pointedly, the top photo features two young men with the caption "People say we can't, but I say no! Maybe!". While the campaign officially celebrates 'individuality' and 'friendship', there's clearly a subtext here.
Sprite and Jiang Xiao Bai only formally came together after Chinese netizens began promoting the combination as somewhat of an underground cocktail that became known as "lover's tears".
Launched last month on social platforms Weibo, Wechat and Douyin (known as Tik Tok internationally), the integrated campaign featured influencers calling for self-expression, generating 69 million pieces of user-generated content.