Coca-Cola's Smartwater Rolls Out Robot Pete Davidson

Literally, as this model's on wheels

Pete Davidson's a robot now. Aren't we all? 

It'd be awesome if he zapped human with kill rays or wooed an android Ariana Grande. Instead, Robo-Pete mostly cracks wise and dispenses Smartwater in a campaign dropping today from WPP's Open X, led by VMLY&R.

So, there's the robot premise, a few quips ... and that's basically it. But Pete's so darn likable, it works.

The launch follows Taco Bell's "call me Peter!" breakfast push from last week, and underscores just how ubiquitous—and presumably effective—the actor/comedian's become as a pitchman. He's not on Ryan Reynolds' level yet. But Pete may get there in time, leveraging his broad appeal across brands galore like a less snarky, celebrity-next-door version of RR.

Muse asked Luke Perkins, group director, creative strategy, hydration at Smartwater parent Coca-Cola, why Davidson computes for the brand.

MUSE: Pete's work for Smartwater is getting pretty well known. How do you keep it fresh? How long can it go?

Luke Perkins: The beauty of partnering with someone like Pete is that his comedic nature allows for so many different directions. We can be cheeky and playful in our content.  He's "in on the joke" and receptive to the ideas we bring. Pete has even strengthened the executions with ad-libbing and a delivery that makes a line land perfectly.

He's certainly self-deprecating. That always plays well.

From lasering off his tattoos to appearing as a robot screen, he's been open to poking fun at himself a bit. Pete brings an authentic and relatable energy to our marketing and we will keep it going for as long as it works and as long as he'll have us. The interpretation of "keep it smart' can be applied in many different ways or scenarios and even changes as we evolve as a society.

Talk about this automaton concept specifically. He's not even a proper robot. What were you aiming for differently vs. previous ads?

The approach is focused on summer and a bit more tongue-and-cheek. Summer is naturally a peak time for recreational activities, vacations and taking it a bit easy. But there is also an increased focus on hydration. For this content series, we incorporated relatable scenarios and kept the overall mood light-hearted and fun. Robo-Pete is a bit of a parody. A version of Pete that does work for him, which means more time enjoying his summer. We wanted to tap into the relatable element of simply wanting to enjoy summer and the endless quest to get it all done. It's a new, evolved interpretation of "Keep It Smart" for the season.

Put us on set. How much input did Pete have in the process?

Jokes were flying around, and there was a lively and playful energy that made the process so easy and enjoyable. We've developed a trust with Pete over the past few years, and with this concept we were able to give him room to improv and to add his comedic touch. Per usual, Pete delivered by leaning into moments and playing up relatable moments, like being on mute or staying charged up.


Client: Smartwater
Agency: WPP's Open X, led by VMLY&R
Production Company: Smuggler, Director: Randy Krallman
Editorial: Friendshop
Friendshop Editor - Sara Sachs
Friendshop Assistant Editor - Devante Marshall
MD/ Co-Founder - Melissa Mapes
Senior Producer - Adam Roe
Producer - Samantha Mohan 
GFX - Robert Jan de VriesColor - Royal Muster - Gregory Reese
Conform - Bryan Rosenblum
Mix - Heard City - Phil Loeb
Third Party Signatory & Co-Producer: CMC/Forecast

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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