Sprite is flexing its deep cred in hip-hop for the culture's 50th birthday with a campaign featuring new stars and long-celebrated legends.
A :60 at the center of the push sees Latto, GloRilla, Rakim and Nas contribute to an interpolation of The Sugarhill Gang's 1979 classic "Rapper's Delight." The camera finds Latto recording in the studio, GloRilla performing at a packed club, Rakim teaching hip hop history in a classroom and Nas holding court on a stoop.
The ad also incorporates nods to the respective works of the four rappers. There's the radio-friendly hook to Latto's "Big Energy"; the "Let's Go" shout from GloRilla's "FNF"; and the iconic and oft-quoted "thinking of a master plan" line from Rakim's verse on 1987's "Paid in Full" (which also found its way onto a limited edition Sprite can in 2015 as part of the brand's “Obey Your Verse” campaign).
Nas, meanwhile, brings the spot home with an "underground and overground" allusion to a line from "Ghetto Reporter," the first track on his latest album, King's Disease III, celebrating hip-hop's journey to global dominance.
Overall, it's a fresh and efficient shout out, and a victory lap for Sprite. The Coca-Cola owned soda brand was one of the earliest major marketers to invest in hip-hop—hiring rapper Kurtis Blow as a pitchman in 1986 to help reach young consumers just as the genre was hitting the mainstream. The brand's ads over the years went on to feature countless emcees, including HeavyD, KidNPlay, Kriss Kross, A Tribe Called Quest, Missy Elliot, KRS One, Common and Fat Joe, to name a few.
The new work, continuing through the summer, also includes a limited-edition flavor—Lymonade Legacy—and a series of ticket and merch drops (like a director's slate signed by Rakim), plus sponsorship support for Drake's upcoming "It’s All a Blur Tour." (See also: the rapper's exploding self ad for Sprite, circa 2010.)
And while there's no shortage of new ads featuring big rappers—the past week alone has seen T-Pain crooning "Buy U a Frosty" for Wendy’s and Bad Bunny teaming up with Pepsi and Apple Music—Sprite earns bragging rights for being among the first to the party, in the long arc.