Effective advertising needs to have a clrearly defined target group. Often times, established companies can face problems when their advertisements no longer gel with the audience they have been speaking to for years. In the competitive world of advertising, this is a defining moment that seperates the sinkers from the swimmers. The iconic soda brand 7Up has decided to switch things up and focus its efforts on a new target– millennials.

The lemon-lime flavored soda traditionally designed its advertising campaigns to appeal to the older soda drinker (35 years and up). They drove home their message with lines that highlighted their drink’s natural flavors and lack of caffeine. Some of their most successful advertsiing campaigns featured:

  • Cee-lo Green as a baby with the “Be Yourself. Be Refreshing” tagline
  • Cute and belching bunnies
  • A euphoric Brad Garrett with the “Ridiculously Bubbly” tagline

Here’s the commercial they ran with Garrett:

Big Soda: An Industry in Crisis

Reports have shown that soda drink industry is facing a serious challenge. Annual sales for all the major players have been on the decline for the last decade, despite heavy investments in marketing campaigns. This is the perfect opportunity for a smaller company like 7Up to try something new.

(Quick Fact: 7Up ranks as the 15th largest soft drink brand controlling only 1 percent of the soda sales market.)

“We find with 7Up we do best when we break with convention, when we move into a new space and make some changes. We really wanted to evolve our customer base,” explained Eric Blackwood, the director of marketing at 7Up. “Millennials have a lot of buying power — they’re really coming into their own. We’re looking to who are future buyers are going to be.”

Catering to Millenials Through EDM

The company did some extensive research into what had mass appeal across this particular demographic. Their mareting execs decided that electronic dance music (EDM) provided the answers they were looking for. Not only was it widely popular amongst millenials, but it also appealed to another key demographic for 7Up– the Hispanic community.

“We talked to some experts in the industry and at our agency, and [we discovered] it’s the fastest-growing genre in music today. It’s really weaving itself more into the mainstream,” exclaimed Blackwood.

The brand’s new hope is that embracing music will help boost the return from their marketing efforts– something we think holds merit. 7Up is going to be working with 7 popular DJs at 7 events over the course of their #7x7Up yearlong program.

The brand is kicking off this new effort with an ad spot featuring DJ Tiesto doing his thing at a raging party in Chile. 7Up has hired the 3 premier agencies to help them out on this ambitious project:

7Up is All In with this New Campaign

The soda brand is keeping quiet on how much they plan to invest in the total advertsing project, but they have been ramping up their overall investment in measured media over the last year. This campaign may not involve any new jingles, but it has gotten our attention.

“The entire [carbonated soft drink] category is struggling with marketing and figuring out paths to growth,” stated John Sicher, editor and publisher of the Beverage Digest. “It’s challenging in this day and age to figure out how to market these lemon-lime products.”

7Up is taking a big gamble on the theory that embracing EDM will be it’s saving grace. We can agree that it should help set them apart from close rivals like Sprite, but we aren’t so sure that it is going to sell a lot of soda just yet. We’ll be keeping on this project as it develops in the coming months.