Minute Maid Olympic ads sweet in their simplicity

In anticipation of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Minute Maid Company Canada has rolled out a new campaign, including TV and an in-store promotion, with an Olympic twist. The creative, by Leo Burnett, Toronto, went to air Oct. 22, and focuses on the juice maker's sponsorship of the Canadian Olympic Team.

In anticipation of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Minute Maid Company Canada has rolled out a new campaign, including TV and an in-store promotion, with an Olympic twist. The creative, by Leo Burnett, Toronto, went to air Oct. 22, and focuses on the juice maker’s sponsorship of the Canadian Olympic Team.

The two 30-second spots will run through the Winter Games to the end of February. In stark contrast to some of the patriotic, in-your-face beer ads that have swept through the country in recent years, the Minute Maid ads, while hardly earth-shattering, are understated and sweet in their simplicity. They also mark a change from the hyper-patriotic ads that typically accompany the Olympics, which makes them as refreshing as, well, juice.

‘[Minute Maid] wanted to reflect a genuine excitement for the Olympics. At the same time, we were somewhat limited by budget and timing, which drove our thinking in a certain direction,’ says Tony Lee, CD at Leo Burnett. ‘Much of it came out of the product itself – orange juice – and how common a product it is. So we started to think about how real people think about the Games.’

The first spot is a humorous one in which, as snow flies through the air, we see four men get out of their car at a red light. When the light turns green, the men start pushing the car with the doors open. As the car gains momentum and starts to barrel down a steep hill, the men scramble to jump in the car and we hear a cowbell. A funny take on their enthusiasm for the bobsled competition.

The second is a more emotionally charged ad in which a woman, presumably at a food packaging company of some sort, is at the receiving dock accepting the latest load from the back of a truck. With boxes stacked in front of her she stands atop them, and imagines herself on an Olympic podium taking in the applause after winning a gold medal.

Nathalie Burstein-Woods, Leo Burnett’s Minute Maid account director, says, ‘We wanted to create a campaign that played off a certain amount of Canadians’ understated national pride. That’s why these ads have an emphasis on little moments with regular Canadians.’

The campaign’s quite effective, as it doesn’t take too much imagination for one to surrender to the idea. After all, who hasn’t imagined themselves winning a gold medal, or accepting an Oscar for that matter? ‘Any film poses the question of ‘what if?’ What if people were so excited that they are trying to live vicariously in the Olympic moment? What would it be like?’ says Lee. ‘It’s a very real, powerful, human thing to want to live an Olympic moment and it fit perfectly with what we are trying to do with the product.’

Each spot ends with the tag, ‘We’re excited about the Olympic Winter Games too. Minute Maid, Proud Sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Team’ as a bottle of OJ tips over and the lid takes the form of a gold medal.

‘You expect big heart-thumping, flag-waving stuff given the nature of the Olympics themselves. But there’s a high price of entry when you try to outdo [the ad equivalent of Titanic],’ says Lee. In other words, it would have been easy to hire Donovan Bailey and have him gulping Minute Maid to the roar of a crowd. Minute Maid didn’t do that, and the ads are still effective.

Apart from the two ads – a full national buy on all major networks – Minute Maid has launched an extensive in-store effort, which features an Olympic medal on each carton of juice, along with details about a sweet promotion. One lucky Canadian family of four will win a trip to the games in Salt Lake City this winter, including hotel, airfare, tickets to two Olympic events per day, tickets to the closing ceremony, and VIP treatment, a prize valued at $45,000. Contestants can enter the promotion online at minutemaidforlife.com or by mail.

Brandon Leck, brand manager at Minute Maid, a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Corporation, says, ‘part of what distinguishes this promotion for us is that it aims to get customers excited at the shelf. The on-pack promos entice people to try [Minute Maid orange juice] and hopefully to make repeat purchases.’ Agency: Leo Burnett, Toronto
Associate Creative Directors: Tony Lee; Kelly Zettel
Art Directors: Sean Davison (‘Boxes’); Chris Hall (‘Car’)
Copywriters: Wade Hesson (‘Boxes’); Matt Syberg-Olsen (‘Car’)
Senior Producer: Steve Emmens
SVP Group Head: Karen Tilley
Account Director: Nathalie Burstein-Woods
Account Executive: Kate Bourne
Production House: Untitled Films
Director: Wayne Craig
DOP: James Gardner
Executive Producer: Peter Davis
Music House: Grayson Matthews
Offline Post-Production: School
Editor: Griff Henderson
Online Post-Production: Crush
Henry Artist: Sean Cochrane