Can an 86 year old brand still dance with millennial consumers?
7 UP is one of the world’s most recognisable brands, but in the past that branding has often danced between a variety of campaigns and messages.
Where competitors have stuck with a central, continuous tagline like “The Real Thing”, 7 UP has given us everything from psychedelic ‘Un-cola’ taglines to Fido Dido, with mixed success. In recent times 7Up’s market share has also declined, leading to the need for a marketing shakeup, one which the brand has embraced wholeheartedly.
With this in mind it has been good to see the brand rallying around a core message over the past year, getting back to its 1930’s roots and positioning itself firmly as a ‘feel good product’.
What’s been unusual about this is the way the brand has tapped into an existing community, becoming synonymous with much of the US’s burgeoning Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene.
This isn’t simply a case of handing out a few free drinks and putting some banners up at gigs however. 7 UP has made waves by digging deep into the community, and taking great pains to adapt its tone of voice to a new audience. It feels as though the people working for 7 UP really do enjoy the music.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the brand’s main online channels to see how it manages this.
One of the biggest problems with large campaigns is finding a central focus point.
While 7Up’s homepage does display a large banner, the company has clearly decided that on-site isn’t the best place to look for engagement.
The site isn’t optimised for interaction, and the #7x7UP campaign vies for attention alongside other initiatives. Instead, users who click the ‘learn more’ CTA are taken right to the heart of the #7x7UP operation.
Tumblr is often overlooked by marketers, but here it’s well suited, displaying a range of marketing materials from live events, although as a community-based initiative, it would be nice to see more UGC on display.
The majority of the campaign was concentrated around the 2014 festival season, so things are a little fallow at time of writing, but overall this is a great display of striking, engaging visuals.
There is of course, one slight problem with using this for a campaign cantered specifically around music: There isn’t any. More audio links would be useful.
On Twitter we’re again faced with the same issue as the main website: too many conflicting campaigns giving rise to an odd mix of messaging.
Tweets wishing EDM megastar Tiesto a happy birthday vie with ‘seize the day’-esque motivational quotes from Moliere. It’s a common problem for brands that focus social around campaigns, rather than primarily as an ongoing means of communication.
That said, the quotes are all upbeat, motivational stuff that fits in well, although they could probably benefit from a little more tailoring for the target audience.
Fortunately the user-generated chat is more on target, with hundreds of retweets and engagements around the #7x7UP hashtag.
The brand tone of voice is also excellent on this channel, the team behind the account clearly know about the music scene they are involved in, chatting happily to followers about specific gigs, artists and releases.
— 7UP (@7UP) January 28, 2015
It’s great to see a brand team taking a specific interest like this, where most FMCG’s only casually engage with a subject, here the commitment and genuine enthusiasm is clearly paying dividends.
The brand Instagram account is sadly a bit of a halfway house.
The content and approach are similar to the Tumblr site, but without the ability to optimise content in a more exciting way, the Instagram account looks a little bland by comparison, and comes across as an add-on, rather than a way of really driving engagement.
Still, it’s good to see the brand getting involved at events and uploading pictures of the audience directly, rather than relying on glossy, ‘verified’ images, so there is at least a good understanding of the channel.
Something that is surprising given the scale of investment is the lack of Video. 7Up’s official YouTube account is hard to find and has hardly any content.
This is clearly a massive engagement opportunity and with so many visually stunning events happening, it seems a shame not to give the content more room to grow.
Overall this is a brave move for the brand, and it goes beyond being a mere campaign and into the realm of wider brand realignment.
It’s a difficult scene to jump into, with a high risk of being seen as a boring corporate desperately trying to be relevant.
However, by concentrating wholeheartedly on the positive and making sure the conversation and selection of aligned artists is credible, 7Up have made big inroads with the millennial audience that populates the scene, and particularly the US Hispanic user base, traditionally a market that has not been highly engaged with the brand’s advertising.
There’s plenty of work to be done, but this is an excellent example of a brand expanding market share with a younger audience, and others could learn lessons from the openess and honesty employed here.