WTF is up with Mac’s?

There's no blood or pus this time, but the latest campaign for Mac's Froster continues to push the envelope.

There’s no blood or pus this time, but the latest campaign for Mac’s Froster continues to push the envelope.

The new WTF? flavour is supported by a campaign that will make you ask just that. Executions range from a man giving birth to an ostrich egg to a nun seeing the Froster in what’s presumably a revelation.

‘[WTF?] is obviously part of the vernacular of 16-year-old teens, and with the WTF? flavour, you literally go, ‘What is it?” explains Chad Borlase, co-CD at Bos Toronto, which named the mango/melon-flavoured product. He adds that the target is male 16-year-olds who think they’re 18.

The campaign is mostly online, and includes 19 short videos by five different directors. ‘It was about getting as many different perspectives as possible,’ says Borlase.

The videos have been posted on sites like YouTube, Facebook and MySpace. At press time, the ‘Mr. Tree’ spot had been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube alone, and Froster sales were double what they were last year. The campaign also includes online banner ads,

print and POP.

The WTF? effort is part of the ongoing campaign to build the Froster brand, which includes 2005′s disgustingly successful ‘Bloody Zit’ work. It aims to reinforce the drink as edgy and relevant to the target, and to differentiate it from 7-11′s Slurpee.

We asked Sean MacPhedran, director, creative strategy at Ottawa-based Fuel Industries, and Angela Scardillo, managing director at Vancouver-based DDB Kid Think, to tell us WTF they think.

CONCEPT

SM: A little girl killing unicorns? ‘What the f…’ This is the kind of content that Mac’s youth customers are seeking online. Kids want to be grossed out, and are immune to stale marketing messaging. The concept works, generating curiosity around the flavour that only purchase can resolve.

AS: The campaign tries to be crazy and shocking in an attempt to gain the attention of teen boys. I think that the ads may get the attention of teens, but I don’t think it will be effective as it doesn’t follow through with a relevant link to the product or brand. As it stands, the concept completely revolves around ‘What the f…?’, and not ‘Where’s The Froster?’

POSTERS

SM: If the ads are held to internal logic across executions, Mac’s is proposing that baby Jesus is made from the same elemental energy as a fart cloud. However, I’m sure that we’re supposed to examine the work with a more surrealistic eye, like you would a Dali.

AS: Similar to the online campaign, these seem to be created for the sake of being bizarre, because someone told them that teen boys like the bizarre.

VIDEOS

SM: Hate crimes, a man drinking robot semen, lesbians killing a tree-man… What can I say? It’s absolute mayhem.

AS: In terms of marketing to youth, many of these videos are completely irresponsible, and [could be] considered offensive, which risks putting the brand in jeopardy.

What do these ads have to do with Mac’s Frosters? They may generate some buzz about how (a) shocking, (b) gross and (c) politically incorrect they are, but teens are smart enough to see how unrelated these videos are to the product, and will likely think that Mac’s is just trying too hard to be seen as edgy.

POP

SM: The creative feels a touch disconnected from the rest of the madness, but they drive the same reaction with nonsensical SMS and IM slang. Its strength is that it’s unapologetically nuts.

AS: I think it’s the smartest element of the campaign, but it could have been naturally extended to a viral mobile component to allow for some brand interaction, or been linked to a contest or promotion.

The creds:

Client – Mac’s Convenience Stores

Russ Sunderji, marketing manager, Central Canada

Ad agency – Bos Toronto

Chad Borlase, co-CD; Gary Watson, co-CD; Mwewa Frederick Nduna, copywriter; Joanna Barrs, copywriter; Jennifer Saunders, AD; Ibraheem Youssef, AD; Stephen Rankin, account manager; Jennifer Patterson, account manager

Prodco – Untitled

Graydon Sheppard, director; Christopher Hutsul, director; Aleysa Young, director; Michael Graf, director; Steve Mottershead, director; James Davis, executive producer; Tom Evelyn, producer