I love a David a Goliath story. I mean, who doesn't.
It Probably comes from a deep-seated insecurity courtesy of a Scottish upbringing, but with the perpetual barrage of 'stuff' we all seem to be dealing with this year – a good old-fashioned underdog tale is just the ticket for raising a smile.
So, when I chanced across Country Time Lemonade's brilliant return of what I would consider something of a classic campaign, I was overjoyed.
The Big Idea
First up, a bit of background needed.
A couple of years back, the Country Time powdered Lemonade brand was languishing in the Kraft-Heinz portfolio. By all accounts, it had been for some time.
As Country Time was not making a great deal of money or noise for Kraft-Heinz, the suits decided to take one last punt on rejuvenating it before putting it out to pasture.
So, with the gauntlet laid down, the stakes couldn't have been lower. Enter Leo Burnett and the launch of the 'Legal-Ade' campaign.
With the summer of 2018 upon them, the search for a fresh take on the business took an unexpected turn and centred squarely on children's lemonade stands.
Positing that red tape and bureaucracy were hindering kids being kids, Country Time assembled a crack team of the hardest of hard-nosed lawyers ready to offer their services pro-bono in straightening out any permits and fines faced by kids across America.
These not so silent guardians were standing up to defend kids' rights. They were keeping the American entrepreneurial dream alive god damn it.
Promising that any child fined for running a lemonade stand without a permit could have their parents apply for reimbursements. All that was needed was a photo of the fine along with a covering letter describing what their lemonade stand means to them, automatically entitling America's budding entrepreneurs up to $300.00 of legal aid.
Content created, website live, social went crazy, and the coverage rolled in. A brilliant award-winning campaign was born.
So, with a couple of years passing since then, the money men at Country Time counted their coppers and lived happily ever after. That was until Covid happened.
And continued to happen. And continued to happen.
But then, amid all the darkness as many brands continued to keep their heads down or scrabbling around for a new pandemic themed CSR scheme to get involved in, they decided it was time for Country Time to make a comeback.
What They Did
And come back they did, in the form of 'The Littlest Bail Out'.
With millions upon millions of businesses across the USA struggling with the huge strain on the economy, Country Time announced their support of the nations "littlest entrepreneurs" in navigating social distancing restrictions and a lack of customers via an economic relief program for kid-run lemonade stands.
Announced at the end July, any lemonade entrepreneurs under the age of 14 years old immediately became eligible for a $100 "stimulus check" coming in the form of a prepaid card to keep their business afloat.
Once more, following the tried and tested format, applications can be made with the help of a parent and the uploading of 250 words in answer to the question "How would your child use their stimulus check to juice the economy?" along with a picture of their child and their lemonade business.
Some beautiful photography, a retooled microsite and a set of official-looking terms and conditions saw the handing out of over 1,000 of the prepaid cards and some very happy kids and parents alike.
It's only been a few weeks since the campaign officially came to an end, but the results have been staggeringly good.
Social posts aplenty as applications flooded into the microsite and people across the USA posted their heart-warming message of support in typically over the top all-American style.
However, the true testament to the success of this comes from the sheer number of headlines it generated. Newsweek, USA Today and seemingly every paper from every state across the country, a raft of US-based and global marketing titles to kick things off, before making its way into lead stories for the likes of CNN, ABC, CBS News, and their online platforms.
It cut through.
I love this one a great deal and for many reasons.
I mean, first and foremost the creative around the campaign comes from a wonderfully simple place.
Someone looked squarely at reams of audience demographics and financial projections and decided the best way to engage them was by ostensibly focussing on a different audience altogether.
But more to the point, by going back to its traditional all-American credentials, the nostalgic 1950's white picket fences of an idealised Hollywood America, that millions of Americans find great comfort within, was at once dripping in nostalgia and brought it bang up to date.
It created an emotional connection between family life and lemonade, and it was played on beautifully.
What's more, the giant dose of humour running through the whole thing is just delightful. It's one of those campaigns that makes you smile and leaves a warm fuzzy feeling deep down. And for a product that is essentially slightly ropey powdered lemonade mix, that’s an achievement in itself.
But more than anything else, you have to admire the fact that someone had the foresight to bring an old creative idea back to life in reaction to a deeply depressing news agenda. That takes courage. That is just great.
It's hard to fault this one.
An opportunistic comeback from an already award-winning piece of work that seems obvious, but only with hindsight.