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Sprite’s Use of Advertising in Securing Consumers

Advertisements of today are frivolous at best, downright ridiculous at worst. Buy this cream and never age. Wear these jeans and attract beautiful men. Get perfect abs with no effort at all. Today’s market-savvy consumer will not buy into the fraudulent television commercials of yesterday. Ads that centre on a product’s powers to transform a person into someone more hip, sexy, and fashionable, have become easily recognizable as ludicrous and false, and have thus lost their effectiveness.

In the last few years, however, a new breed of commercial advertising has sprung up: the anti-ad. The Sprite soft drink corporation’s “Image is nothing” ads are a good example of how these ads, though nothing more than television commercials themselves, mock the entire institution of advertising in a ploy to attract ad-weary consumers.

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Anti-advertising shines a new light on marketing, playing on consumer scepticism while putting a new spin on an old selling technique. The idea is to spoof propaganda, telling the audience that they, the producers of this ad and makers of this product, would never try to con consumers by using dishonest marketing tactics. In all honesty, however, the success of the ad depends entirely on just such a ploy.

The Sprite Corporation has repeatedly made connections with anything hip and trendy, using basketball and hip-hop as central themes and Grant Hill as a spokesperson, obviously in hopes of having these adjectives associated with their product in the eye of their public. Sprite has often tried to set itself up as the product that discourages this kind of scheme. Their “Image is nothing” campaign works on the principle that physical attributes like beauty, youth, and sex appeal cannot be transferred or exchanged to people by means of a product.

The Sprite ads tell viewers that soda will not improve their looks or give them basketball skills. One such ad shows tough-looking, urban athletes using power and force to promote Sprite. The humour comes when the director yells, “Cut,” and the “rough-neck kids from the streets” turn out to be whining thespians, complaining about motivation and trailer space. Another ad shows a young kid drinking Sprite and attempting to dunk a basketball, only to be brutally rejected by the front of the rim.

These and other similar ads commend the audience for recognizing that products, particularly soft drinks, do not make them cool or more appealing to the opposite sex or better at sports. While other ads may subtly suggest that their products do so, Sprite seems to be exposing the folly of such notions. Their slogan “Image is nothing. Thirst is everything. Obey your thirst,” cleverly tells the consumer not to fall for advertising gimmicks, while at the same time insinuating that the audience should drink Sprite instead of other soft drinks.

While on the surface these commercials may seem to be “anti-ads”, abstaining from traditional, manipulative marketing techniques in favour of a new honest and forthright method of advertising, they are actually exactly the type of ads they are mocking. If an image is nothing and thirst is everything, why do none of the ads mention anything about thirst or anything about Sprite? The Sprite ads make fun of advertising, and in doing so, act as if their commercials were something other than advertisements themselves.

The anti-ad technique gives the consumer a claim of independent thought by cleverly making them think that they drink Sprite because they choose to drink it. Sprite tries to instil the idea that the consumer has independently chosen this product because they deem it worthy, not because of a manipulative marketing ploy.

Using the anti-ad technique, ad makers mock their own craft by showing consumers how manipulative ads really are, making viewers chuckle in agreement, but buy that product anyway. The Sprite ads do make a point: viewers are not going to become beautiful or talented people just because they buy a product peddled by a beautiful and talented person. No doubt, the ads are clever and funny, but consumers need to be aware of this new scheme, and not be tricked by such advertising tactics.

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Sprite's Use of Advertising in Securing Consumers. (2021, Feb 06). Retrieved June 18, 2021, from