Jackie Chan Stages Interventions for V8


Campbell Soup Company's V8 brand has recruited martial arts master/actor/cultural icon Jackie Chan for a major new campaign designed to power V8-brand launches, as well as to re-energize sales of its original 100% vegetable juice.

The campaign's first two TV spots feature Chan unexpectedly swooping into everyday scenarios and replacing their no-veggie beverages with "veggie-powered" V8 choices.

In one spot, Chan descends from a building and bounces off an awning to replace a woman's no-veggie smoothie with a V8-V Fusion Smoothie ("real fruit plus veggie nutrition"). In the other spot, he appears on a rooftop balcony to replace a woman's cranberry juice with original V8 ("half the calories plus veggie nutrition").

While concluding with the classic "Could've had a V8" tagline, Chan's tongue-in-cheek celebrity presence and the attention-arresting stunts (the spots were directed by Craig Gillespie, who most recently made the remake of "Fright Night") result in a distinctly more aggressive tone than the brand's traditional efforts.



V8 challenged its creative agency, Y&R New York, to take a more "competitive" approach to the campaign, Doug Brand, senior brand manager for V8 vegetable juices and V8 Splash, tells Marketing Daily. Vegetable juices are an increasingly competitive category, and not one that's seeing "explosive growth," but explosive growth is exactly what V8 is aiming for, he says.

The campaign is "all about the 'switch,'" says Brand. "It's about making sure that consumers have that moment of waking up and realizing that V8 now offers options across beverage categories."

V8 owns about two-thirds of the vegetable juice category, but sales of original V8 have been down, in part because of direct competition from companies including Mott's and in part because of the multiplying number of other health-positioned beverage options. Meanwhile, sales of the V8 Splash (fruit-juice blends with antioxidants) and V-Fusion (full servings of vegetables and fruit, with fruit taste) lines have been increasing.

Not hard to understand, then, why V8 is focusing on smoothies and other extensions that represent entry into new beverage categories, while also beefing up marketing for its 100% vegetable juices line. V8-V Fusion Smoothies -- which have just reached full distribution in stores nationwide, and are generating substantial buzz in social media, according to Brand -- are the new campaign's primary focus from October through December.

Three more Chan spots -- to promote more V8 product launches -- will be released before year's end.

V8 isn't yet revealing what products will be featured in those other Chan spots. However, Brand notes that V8 V-Fusion + Energy (vegetable and fruit juices plus green tea), after a successful test in Walmart, is now being expanded within Walmart and to other retailers. In addition, V8 Energy Shots (vegetable/fruit juices and green tea extract) are now in testing in select markets. Given the explosion of products within the energy category, V8 deemed it wise to confirm sufficient consumer uptake of its energy offerings before rolling them out, Brand explains.

Chan was chosen for the new campaign because of his athletic achievements and personal appeal across consumer generations (his Q Scores are high across age groups), as well as his enthusiasm for being a spokesperson for V8's healthy beverages, and relative novelty in U.S. advertising (he's done few major U.S. ad campaigns), says Brand.

Chan also brings with him "an audience that's excited to spread the news about what he's doing" - which means that his presence in V8's campaign is creating buzz on Twitter and other social media "without much push" from V8, Brand says.

In addition to television and V8's social media efforts, the campaign includes advertising in a wide variety of consumer magazines and Web sites.

Media planning is being handled by the New York office of Media Edge: cia.

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