Thursday, October 1, 2009

Swedish Fish: A Friend You Can Eat

Advertising may be strange, even a little odd, but every now and again you come across something that is just so far out there, you wonder who and how on earth anyone ever sold the concept in.

In 2008 when Swedish Fish went looking for an advertising campaign to market its line of chewy winegums, JWT New York developed a campaign so wacky it was brilliant. The integrated campaign was intended to revamp the sweet's image and connect with the 18 to 24 year old market.

The campaign was simple overall, and asked just a single question with two possible answers, “Nej” and “Ja”. Their tag line: “A Friend You Can Eat”.

The campaign utilised print, outdoor, TV, radio and online, to show customers which of their friends they could eat, and which they could not. The above print ad and below TV commercial show the campaign's Kitten Burger execution (my favourite). Overall the look and feel of both are designed to be reminiscent of 1970s Swedish art direction, as a homage to the cultural history of the brand.

In JWT's Titanium entry at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, it was pointed out that not only was the campaign a success, driving huge awareness and sales within the 18 to 24 year old market, but the campaign ultimately went viral on a number of levels. People began trading plates and T-shirts on craigslist and other sites, and the words ‘Nej” and ‘Ja’ entered into the online chatter vernacular as part of a subversive pop culture movement. The TV commercials were so well received that people began imitating on YouTube with their own versions.

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