Beverage Brands that Broke the Mold

When it comes to beverage commercials, nearly everyone has a favorite. From talking frogs or bikini teams, to flash mobs dancing or Clydesdales kicking footballs, there have been many different beverage campaigns that etched themselves into the public consciousness and became cultural touchstones. And some have become truly iconic.

Red Bull Stratos

Everyone knows “Red Bull gives you wings” but adding a catchphrase to the national lexicon is not nearly the coolest thing Red Bull has ever done to capture the public’s interest. Far and away the most amazing ad campaign the energy drink has come up with included a literally out of this world stunt that had millions riveted to their computer screens or TVs. Called “The Mission to the Edge of Space” the stunt involved Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner diving from 24 miles above the earth. The jump would include a freefall that would break five world records. Oh, and Felix would become the first human to break the sound barrier without an engine.

So, was it a science experiment, a publicity stunt, or an incredible feat of marketing genius? Well… you could easily make a case for all three. Baumgartner’s jump made the news across the world, and it ignited the imaginations of a consumer public just being reintroduced to the wonders of space. And, as a commercial? The video earned more than 200 million views for Red Bull and millions in earned media for Red Bull.

Budweiser Says Wassup

Where Stratos was intellectual, scientific, and incredibly complex, Budweiser “Whassup” campaign was none of those things. But it was still a huge win for a company that’s made a habit of adding catch phrases to the national lexicon.

Yes, it’s simple, and, yes, it’s very silly. But that’s the magic. Nearly everyone who saw it laughed when they watched it, and they still grin when they think about it today. Many people don’t know that the ad debuted in 1999, to dubious reaction. In fact, some distributors complained that Anheuser-Busch was damaging its brand and would hurt their sales. They turned out to be dead wrong. When the commercial was played during the 2000 Super Bowl, millions began greeting their friends with the exaggerated “Whaaaaasuuupppp!” In fact, the greeting became so mainstream, it was even spoofed in the 2000 satirical film, Scary Movie. Eventually, the commercial and its now iconic silly greeting, would be translated into 30 languages, and it remains a cultural touchstone today.

Dos Equis Keeps Men Interesting

The originators of the “Most Interesting Man” concept thought they had a winner for beer brand Dos Equis, but even they could not have anticipated just how iconic the campaign would become. The ads, which included a voiceover talent listing the outlandish accomplishments of The Most Interesting Man in the World, captured the imagination of the country, spawning countless follow up commercials in a campaign that ended up running strong for a decade. Now, the original Most Interesting Man has retired from the role, but, instead of letting the campaign die, Dos Equis brought in yet another “Interesting” guy to keep it going.

What beverage campaign do you like best? Which is most memorable or most impactful to you?

Ronn Torossian, CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.

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