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Kool-Aid Man Makeover Stirs Up Digital Content

  |  April 17, 2013   |  Comments

Kool-Aid has updated its pitcher spokesman Kool-Aid Man and added a new Facebook page and YouTube channel as part of a wider campaign.

At 59 years old, Kool-Aid's spokespitcher, Kool-Aid Man, has a new look and a new personality.

The makeover is part of a brand campaign called, "Smile. It's Kool-Aid," which is tied to the launch of Kool-Aid Liquid Drink Mix, a sugar-free squeezable liquid drink mix that launched in January and recently became available nationwide.

Targeting moms, the campaign includes a new Facebook page and YouTube channel. An interactive website and app will follow.

After the revamp, Kool-Aid Man, which first appeared in 1954, has a more modern look and distinctive voice. According to Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid Man has "gone back to his roots" with an emphasis on his "original pitcher-focused personification but playing up his undeniably fun personality."

Previously a costumed character, Kool-Aid says the new Kool-Aid Man is technologically advanced, CGI-generated and more interactive and colorful. In addition to his tagline, "Oh, yeah!" he will have his own characteristic sound, expanded vocabulary and developed personality, the brand says.

"Really the news that prompted this makeover was the evolution of the new Kool-Aid Liquid product line," says Erica Rendall, senior brand manager at Kraft Foods. "As we were evolving the portfolio and launching this new Kool-Aid Liquid product, there was an opportunity to evolve Kool-Aid Man as well...and when we did so, we also gave him a personality and a voice to go along with it."

This marks the seventh iteration of Kool-Aid Man.

As a result, Kool-Aid has created a separate Facebook page for Kool-Aid Man. Kool-Aid says this is where he will "interact directly with fans like never before." It contains content from his life, such as a snapshot from his first day of school in 1959 and a senior photo in 1989.

As of launch day on Monday, the page had about 61,000 likes. (Kool-Aid has 2.4 million Facebook fans.)

"In the past, Kool-Aid Man has really been known for saying, ‘Oh, yeah!' and busting through walls, based on a character in a foam suit," Rendall says. "Today's is created through CGI, which allows us to give him an actual voice. You really get to hear him talk with people around him and get ready for the day, so to speak, and develop a more well-rounded personality."

According to Kool-Aid, the associated print and TV campaign will offer the aforementioned insight into Kool-Aid Man's daily life. That includes trying to decide which of his 22 flavor outfits to wear, working out at the gym, buying flowers and interacting with neighbors. In addition, he will still break through walls. The TV ads launched Monday.

The brand also launched a YouTube channel in conjunction with the campaign, which features one such ad.

What's more, an interactive website will replace the existing website in early May.

Rendall says the site will allow fans to go inside Kool-Aid Man's home, where they will be able to interact with features such as a walk-in closet full of Kool-Aid or an iPhone that will take fans to Kool-Aid's forthcoming app, an Android- and iOS-enabled Kool-Aid Man PhotoBomb mobile app that will enable fans to superimpose images of Kool-Aid Man into their photos. It will launch in June. PhotoBomb users can move, scale and manipulate images to allow Kool-Aid Man to integrate seamlessly into photos, the brand says. All photos will be shareable across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The campaign was produced by Saatchi & Saatchi New York and VSA Partners.

Kool-Aid is a Kraft Foods brand.

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Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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