Lipton Brisk Puppets Take Campaign to the Web

  |  February 15, 2002   |  Comments

In a follow-up to the brand's Super Bowl spot, a sizable offline campaign -- complete with an elaborate mock-documentary -- will detail the former spokepuppets' fight for their rights.

Iced tea brand Lipton Brisk is extending the campaign supporting its improved flavor to the Web, continuing the story of the brand's recently fired spokespuppets -- and their effort to regain their jobs -- via an episodic online-only "documentary."

In conjunction with the brand's new flavor, Lipton Brisk launched an offline campaign debuting during the Super Bowl, and introducing a new tagline: "tastes so good it sells itself." The spot, designed by J. Walter Thompson, showed Lipton Brisk executives firing the puppets because they're no longer needed to promote the beverage. The puppets then picket the company, egg Lipton Brisk vice president Dan Trott, and assault television personalities Al Roker and Pat O'Brien.

Now, the company, which is operated through a Unilever and PepsiCo joint venture, is continuing the puppets' "fight" online.

For starter, an animated puppet "defaces" the Lipton Brisk home page, telling users, "don't believe their lies!" and urging viewers to visit PuppetsAgainstBrisk.com.

The PuppetsAgainstBrisk.com site revolves around the "documentary" "When Puppets Strike Back," which gives viewers an inside look at the puppets' struggle.

The documentary's first episode, "Reaction," interviews psychologists, shocked bystanders and outraged fans about the firing of the puppets and the characters' subsequent rampage. Episodes two and three, currently in production, promise further investigation of the puppet-Brisk uproar.

Ultimately, the documentary will build the story to a crescendo, with its ultimate conclusion being revealed in an upcoming TV spot in April.

"The aim of the documentary, strategically, is to bridge a gap between the Super Bowl spot and ... a different spot that resolves the situation somewhat -- taking the narrative from the point where it is now, which is the puppets being fired, to the end, which is the puppets striking back," said Digital@JWT creative director Steve Coulson.

The site also is designed to encourage users to opt-into future mailings by offering one entrant the opportunity to win a puppet version of themselves.

The site also asks supporters of the cause to download pro-puppet posters and desktop wallpaper, and to mail friends to join the fight.

To promote the site, Coulson said Web movie site iFilm would host the documentaries and link to PuppetsAgainstBrisk.com.

Lipton Brisk also intends to send rich media emails to about 1.5 million consumers that have opted in on Unilever Web sites, featuring puppets that claim that there's more to the story than was shown in the initial Super Bowl spot.

Spending was not disclosed.

Coulson said the campaign's move from TV to online and back was a natural choice, considering the brand's target market.

"Brisk's target is very much the youth market," he said. "In the past, Brisk has had a very strong push in college markets ... We know that's a strong market and the Web is an ideal way to capture that."

Coulson added that the Web's past as a platform for grassroots activism tied in nicely with the campaign, "which is about a puppet labor movement, per se."

"The Web has always been the voice of the disenfranchised, and [there's] a perfect match with the puppets using the Web as their platform ... to distribute campaign materials," he said. "The Web site would be the natural way for the puppets to create their forum."

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