Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The 50 Cent Vitamin Water Commercial

So here's the relatively new Vitaminwater commercial featuring 50 Cent:

Vitaminwater is on the cutting edge of youth-voice marketing. Off the top of my head I can't think of a brand, beside Apple, that has so effectively used the power of "cool" advertising/marketing. Glaceau (maker of Vitaminwater) recently sold to Coca Cola for 4+ billion dollars, demonstrating the power of funny, cutesy blurbs and a good name. But now they're doing television commercials. And this one with 50 Cent has a clear TAN sensibility. So what do we think?

Concept: 50 Cent plays orchestra conductor for the National Symphony.

The basic premise here strikes me as surprisingly dated for Vitaminwater. The hip hop street rapper in the contrasting upscale, classical environs has been mined to the point of cliche. That said, this criticism is with the traditional young, hip Vitaminwater demo in mind. If they now have their eye on expanding out of that market, these basic "assimilated negro" setups still play with the slightly older thirty/forty-something set.

The execution follows the same logic, with no real twist or unexpected angle on the setup, like, for example, the spot with Kelly Clarkson. I suspect this is the commercial 50 Cent would approve of, and maybe even direct. Most rappers act like they're cutting edge, because hip hop used to automatically classify you as such, but really they're all safe and boring (like TAN!). The lines where the announcers take a slight pause and inform us that Curtis Jackson is also known as 50 Cent, and the bit about Beethoven being a "true OG," those lines aren't for the kids. The kids know who 50 Cent is, and me and my TAN peeps were running "Nietzsche/Socrates/Mozart are friggin' gangsta" jokes back in the prep school days, so those can't be used as punchlines so many years later. Swapping out the viola is a fun little accent that's well played, but again, nothing new there.

50 Cent has a handful of popular recognizable songs at this point. And "In The Club" is likely the most popular and recognizable. I wonder if Glaceau had to pay extra for the song rights, or if that's all in their deal with 50. The song makes the commercial, it's cool how a few bars of that song capsulizes so much of the urban-cool ethos. So valuable, and so worth it.

Anywater, we're running out of time here. I like the commercial, it's better than most. But for Vitaminwater, a brand I've come to expect envelope-pushing creativity from, I'm a little disappointed.

Of course I may just be biased since I have a little history with 50 Cent, Vitaminwater, and Formula 5-0.

What's The Formula Yo? (audio) [TAN]


  1. And he has the nerve to go around trying to goad Oprah about how girls from the hood don't ID with her show. You can't say something like that and then come out with a sanitized version of your own club banger for Vitamin Water. I'm going to need him to sit down in the corner and not speak for the rest of the day.

    Editing note: Are classical music concerts really preceded by two old men making announcements like that? And how is Fif going to give the trombone the solo and leave Whoo Kid out to dry like that. Way to look out for your boy.

    I have some issues with this commercial. It's too bad I like that pink Vitamin Water so much. I don't know what flavor it is but it always hits the spot.

  2. Anonymous6/20/2007

    I dunno, i thought it was pretty funny...but def god point about the whole Opera thingy

  3. Who didn't see In Da Club coming a mile away? Still entertaining though...

  4. Anonymous6/21/2007

    Damn everybody's buying everybody these days, soon enough the world will be ruled by Google, Coca Cola, Yahoo and Mc Donald, just watch :-) I thought the commercial was ok. That vitamin shit is addictive I must add.

  5. Well, Metallica played with a symphony orchestra... so why not fiddy?

    And if you were getting the bank that fiddy took home for that commercial, you wouldn't be hatin.

    But, as Dennis Miller would say... that's just my opinion... I could be wrong.

    PS = I like the ghetto verification code 'bljail'

  6. What is vitaminwater? we don't seem to have it here or have I just not seen it? we do have 50 cent though and he's the idol of the naughty boys I teach...

  7. I'm new to your spot, but I'm loving it.

  8. Anonymous6/21/2007

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  9. Hi,

    Wonderful video. Effective marketing ploy. I totally LOVED it. I already liked 50C but I believe there should be more mixing and matching of the various musical genres.

    I've already forgotten the name of the drink but it looked pink.


  10. ......if i'm blind.....do i know the difference between black and white skin?.....and if yes.....why?

  11. You are the most ignorant human being to ever come in contact with the face of the planet earth.



  12. In your post you state it exactly they are widening their demographic market. So if you're going to grow and you've already saturated the first segment start moving into other segments.

    As for the commercial I looked both at that one and the Kelly Clarkson one. I care for neither but I may go and try the water. So i guess it worked.

  13. Anonymous6/21/2007

    Personally, nothing in that commercial impressed me much, and I agree with TAN in a lot of points. It was predictable from start to finish. It would have been better if 50 had directed an actual classical piece, preferably one that is relatively known.

  14. Wow, well TV is lame for the most part. Well excluding Discovery health. 50 cent should do something with them. Maybe assist in removing bullets from gun shot victims in lower class neighbor hoods that he loves to rap about. Personally I’m not impressed with 50 cent and I believe him to be a poor reflection of the urban culture. You know who I would think should be the next it rapper? Condoleezza Rice, she could rap about being in the Civil Rights Movement or being the first African American women to serve as Secretary of state, Instead of rapping about selling dope and banging bitches in the club.

  15. Anonymous6/21/2007

    I love vitamin water and I am delighted to finally read the post of another vitamin-water drinker. I did not think much about the commercial except that, hey, I recognize that guy.

  16. Thing is it is a typical commercial where white america feels that a black person being able to conduct a symphony is a MAJOR feat. But hey I love 50 Cent's hustle. He has everything and it is all about growing his business and persona. So more power to the brother.

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  18. I thought while it was rather predictable, it still put a smirk on my face. It's nice to see a commercial that doesnt completely suck.

    Seeing the cut down shorter version however made me, well, uhnappy.

  19. i'm tempted to add you to my blogroll. may i?

  20. Anonymous6/22/2007

    Wonderfull Video

  21. This advert made me cringe, I'm afraid, and like some of the other contributors it smacked of an undercurrent of unintended racism with its preconceptions of a black rapper not necessarily being affiliated with classical music. No real joke or proper unusual twist.

    Here in the UK there was a sudden breakthrough with the protrayal of Black people in advertising when the Halifax building society took one of its branch managers, Howard Brown and featured him as their main face of the company in a now iconic ad - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEVjbosMqFM
    The brilliant thing about this ad is that Howard has become a recognised face of the company, not because he's black but because he's good - and being black is a true aspect of his nature but secondary to the message.

    Subsequent ads have been a bit hit and miss but if you ask about a Halifax ad here in the UK, people will remember Howard - and that is great!

  22. I'm new to TAN but i like what i read. I intend to keep coming back. I agree with Chris Miltoncontact, being black should have been secondary if not tertiary to the message in the vitaminwater commercial.

  23. Anonymous6/22/2007

    wow, just went to the brit commercial mentioned above... a geeky assimilated black guy, singing sex bomb rewritten for banking...

    "extra, extra... I know you want more... I'll give you something extra when you walk through my door...."

    all in a surreal montage of him moving forward through a world of white people and nature going backwards.

    He even sings to/with a fish.

    a weird progress. not knowing the rest of british advertising, I guess it's hard for me to say.

  24. Congratulations from North Africa on being named Blog of Note. Very interesting blog. I must read the Letter to the average size Penis...can't resist.

  25. i kinda like the trombone getting a solo. tho i would have preferred something like "what up cuz, what up thug, what up shu-bert."

  26. First time checking out your page, AN. I thought the title of your blog was so great I couldn't resist.

    I actually really love that Vitamin Water commercial and 50 is getting paid off of this deal!

  27. Anonymous6/23/2007


    you ain't shit, curtis. youse a winey lil bitch.

  28. Anonymous6/26/2007

    all you guys need to chill..u make it sound soo bad that hes black..the reason its funny is becuase hes black..the typical black ppl his age nowadayz dont listen to that kinda music and thats whats making it ironic and funny..i wanna get that whole song in orchestra version it sounds dope as hell:D

    just chill out ppl white america aint shit..im white and nobody cares i had no clue ppl still brought up race nowadayz right on!!!

  29. I thinks it's quite funny. I love the advert!

  30. As a classical musician (cellist) I laughed my ASS off at this commercial. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I didn't find it racist, I found it funny and clever. Why is it racist? Because rap stars don't usually play with symphonic orchestras? Well they usually don't, (I mean, I don't usually see rap stars at the concerts I do) which is why the commercial is funny.

    Loved the substitution on first viola and LOVED the trombone solo.

    And yes Lisa, if you watch something like "Great Performances" or "Live From Lincoln Center" there's usually a commentator or two giving a little intro to what you're about to see.

  31. Anonymous6/24/2008

    is that a real song?


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