In the press release to launch its new ad, Robinsons said it was looking to reposition thirst as a positive – a sign of a fully lived life. This makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, the resulting spot does not.
The ad by Saatchi & Saatchi London stars a diverse ensemble gurgling Robinsons squash to Alicia Keys’ This girl is on fire. The film then cuts to a young girl singing the song, and again to a boy drinking the beverage before panning upwards to the words “Get thirsty” in the sky.
The link between gargling and thirst is not obvious to the viewer. It is not clear how or why the choir has been put together and dressed in bright colours or why they are gargling on a sunny hill. The girl singing is incongruous and whether the boy is surreptitiously drinking or the straight man to his surroundings is uncertain.
As the disorientation builds, the viewer would be forgiven for feeling increasingly uncomfortable – or cringing, even.
It is not difficult to suppose that perhaps the first idea was to go all in on the gargling but that was too oddball for the Britvic marketers. And so, the girl and the boy were added to the narrative.
On TikTok, three paid videos extend the campaign – at the time of writing – one of which uses the dedicated filter. Elsewhere on social media, members of the public have complained about the gargling in the ad, describing it as disgusting. Though it is not difficult to find people moaning on the internet.
When someone asked about the choice of This girl is on fire on Twitter Robinsons said: “We needed an uplifting, famous song to match the energy of our gargling choir, and ‘Girl on Fire’ [sic] felt like the perfect choice.” Yet whether the song relates to the girl doing the singing, the choir, or getting thirsty is not evident.
The Britvic brand kicked off this campaign from a position of relative strength and a second wave is planned for early June. Launched in 1923, Robinsons sells £200m of squash each year and almost 50% of households buy the brand.
When it announced the end of its 86-year relationship with Wimbledon last June, Robinsons said it would prioritise “celebrating the whole of summer” – a key trading period for owner Brivic – instead.
The ad campaign follows Robinsons’ first rebrand in a decade in March. It introduced a simplified logo, tweaked colour scheme and the image of “eye-catchingly” sliced fruit. A release said the aim was to make the drink appeal to “modern families”.
Robinsons describes the ad as “celebratory” with “infectious joy” at the heart. Unfortunately, they were not the emotions felt by the Campaign team.
Title “Get thirsty”
Agency Saatchi & Saatchi London
Franki Goodwin, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi London, said: “Gaaaarrrgle gaaargggle gggaaargle.”