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Taplines: How Hard Tea First Went Viral

Iced tea is anything but a “hard” beverage. It’s probably the drink of choice for afternoons spent lounging beneath the hot sun or fueling a round of croquet at your rich friend’s Cape Cod summer home. It’s polite, inoffensive. That’s why when Smirnoff rolled the dice on its “Hard Tea” flavored malt beverage — predating the release of the iconic Smirnoff Ice — it had to think outside the box to market it successfully.

Rather than twisting the tea into a cool, edgy product, the ad agency responsible for marketing the product — Bartle Bogle Hegarty — sprung for the unobvious truth, playing up the slightly nerdy, rounded edges of something as paradoxical as “hard iced tea.” With the help of legendary rap music video director Julien Christian Lutz, a.k.a. Director X, Smirnoff rolled out the “Tea Partay,” a spoof rap video featuring Prep-Unit, a group of well-to-do “prepstahs” in boat shoes and polos cruising around what appears to be Martha’s Vineyard, all while rapping the praises of Hard Tea. It was clever. It was tongue-in-cheek. And it was a massive success.

The so-called “tea with attitude” video went viral before anybody really understood what “going viral” even was, tallying up millions of views and becoming an early YouTube sensation alongside the likes of Star Wars Kid, Charlie Bit My Finger, and Chocolate Rain.

Here to guide us inside the development of the classic 2006 ad is Andy Nathan, the founder and CEO of Fortnight Collective. Tune in for more.

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The article Taplines: How Hard Tea First Went Viral appeared first on VinePair.

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