Ribena’s “Berries” Revival has Plenty of Juice


Bursting with Berryness


A jolly crop of animated blackcurrants sing, dance, bounce and catapult themselves across an idyllic farm scene – all to an adaptation of the classic hit “In The Summertime” with bespoke lyrics. It’s the new ad for Ribena. It’s also the old ad for Ribena – a highly successful campaign by M&C Saatchi from 2011 which has been revived in 2023. It’s the latest example of marketers realising the worth in old campaigns and assets and bringing them back.

For a marketer there are two great benefits to bringing an effective old campaign back. First, it’s proven its worth. Second, it saves money. But note that the reduced cost isn’t reason enough on its own to revive a campaign. The ad needs to have been strong and effective the first time, and as we know from Test Your Ad, many campaigns aren’t. Dragging a 1-Star ad out of the vaults just gets you… a 1-Star ad.

Ribena’s “Berries” is a brand doing it right. The original “Berries” scored 4.2-Stars when Ribena retested it on Test Your Ad – showing it still has the power to entertain for commercial gain. The updated version, with a tweaked ending to finish on even more of an emotional high, scored an improved 4.6-Stars, putting it in the Top 20 soft drinks ads on the database.

These high scores – including an Exceptional short-term Spike Rating – won’t come as a surprise to people who’ve studied the elements of effective advertising laid out in Orlando Wood’s Look out and Lemon. Things like vivid characters, brand mascots, a strong sense of place (the British countryside), and a melodic tune all have strong appeal to the ‘broad-beam’ attention of the brain’s right hemisphere, and are associated with greater effectiveness and appeal. The Ribena ad is bursting with these juicy features.

At System1 we were particularly delighted with the strong performance as Ribena came to us to retest the ad and see how it rated with current audiences. As Sarah Fleetwood, Head of Ribena, put it “Our classic ad brings to life the very core of what consumers know and value about the brand – amazing taste, nostalgia and being the home of the original and much-loved British blackcurrant. Having the right insight that it still performs in the top 20 soft drinks ads in 2023 made us excited about the opportunity to bring it back.”

Not all older ads are as ideal for revival as “Berries”, which hits the sweet spot of an unusually good ad with strong creative elements for a product whose appeal and selling points haven’t changed much. But it’s a lot more common for brands to chase unnecessary novelty than it is for them to bring an old ad back and get it wrong.

As we found earlier this year when we looked at “wear-out” in ads, most old creative simply doesn’t decay in effectiveness. “Wear-out” is an excuse to junk ads and make new ones but it’s not backed up by good evidence. If you have a 3-, 4- or 5-Star ad that’s worked for you in the past, it’s likely it will still work for you now. Fear of wear-out is keeping good old ads on the shelf when they could be making you money. As “Berries” proves, old creative still has plenty of juice.

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