V Energy serves up positive feels and nostalgia with the return of its iconic 'Bugs'

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 27 July 2021

V Energy is serving a big dose of positive feels and nostalgia in its new brand platform, Can You Feel It, which sees the return of its iconic bugs.

The new campaign from Clemenger BBDO Sydney sees the evolution of the ‘Bugs’ from the iconic TVC spots from the early 2000s.

In the new 30-second TV spot, the now human-sized bugs – Muzza, Kaz, Roz and Pook – personify energy, social connection and fun as they sing along to iconic upbeat soundtrack, Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” on a road trip.

Frucor Suntory head of marketing - energy Jonny Croft tells AdNews the brand wanted to move away from the traditional association of energy drinks and extreme sports, and instead focus on the feeling the drink and brand gave its customers.

“When we started this journey, we really wanted to grow the category, which meant thinking a bit differently,” Croft tells AdNews.

“One of the things was we spent a lot of time researching consumers, getting really close to consumers. Not just current energy drinkers, but potential energy drinkers as well.

“[We] partnered with Clems on that process, and thought about what's the most compelling benefit we can really talk to about energy? And it's not necessarily the functional stuff. It's more about the feeling stuff, which is really powerful and resonates really strongly.”

During the research process, Croft says many consumers referred to the “instant sensorial experience” they get when drinking V Energy.

The ‘Can You Feel It’ tagline plays into this feeling of energy, while simultaneously referring to the drink’s function and taste.

The evolution of a noughties icon
Synonymous with the brand during the noughties, V Energy’s bug characters would be instantly recognisable to millennials and generation X.

Fast forward to 2021 though, the brand’s core target audience has shifted to the younger gen Z audience who wouldn’t be as familiar with the iconic characters.

To appeal to this audience, while also triggering some latent memory structures in its older customer base, Croft says the brand recreated the bugs in a fun animation style.

“I think bugs [have] a great lens to look at the world through, because it makes mundane, everyday situations just funny, entertaining and exciting,” Croft says.

“​​They really play to V's tone of voice and really bring out that fun personality.”

The brand worked with multi-award winning production company Psyop to give Muzza, Kaz, Roz and Pook a makeover and bring the animation to life.

Each character was considered, with the production company dreaming them up based on the actor that would play the bug.

“They find the actor who they'll use to play the bug, and then really understand how that actor would act, right, and what he'd say and how he'd come across,” Croft says.

Can you feel it?
The initial spot has launched to the tune of Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” - an apt choice of music which further plays into the new brand platform.

When choosing the song, Croft says the team were looking for something that was both iconic and made everyone want to get up and dance.

“That Wham track was the best example of a song, which is iconic and appeals to someone who's 18, as well as someone who's 44, and makes them all feel that positive, uplifting, sing-along kind of vibe.”

In addition to the TVC, the platform is set to include a TikTok campaign and pending the current COVID-19 situation, some brand activations.

While Croft was unable to reveal details of the TikTok campaign just yet, he says it will be a key part of the brand platform which will roll out over the next 12 months.

“We're thinking about how we bring the feeling of energy to life in TikTok,” he says.

“We had some really good early success in the platform, and it's a great way to get to consumers who are hard to get to through other platforms -- getting them to engage and interact.

“[It’s] really an opportunity to think about how we bring our creative platform to life in that channel so it encourages participation.”

The fully integrated campaign launched on 23 July across TV, cinema, digital/social and radio.


Allison Yorston, Director of Energy and Transformation
Jonny Croft, Head of Energy
Chris Henbrey, V Energy Senior Brand Manager
Ryan Smith, Senior Media & Content Manager
Kaan Kocabay - Assistant Media and Content Manager

Clemenger BBDO Sydney (Creative Agency)
Executive Creative Directors: Darren Wright and Brendan Willenberg
Senior Art Director: Miguel Gadea
Senior Copy Writer: Nathan Moraza
Senior Producer: Jo Howlett
Chief Strategy Officer; Lilian Sor
Group Business Director: John Kim
Senior Business Director: Rachel Robinson
Senior Account Manager: Gina Talboys
Planning Director: Graham Sweet

Production Company: Psyop
Directors: Kylie Matulick, Todd Mueller
Sr. Producer: Andrew Gilson

Production Company: Sedona Productions
Managing Director / Executive Producer: Kim Wildenburg

Animation and CG Partner: Milford

Senior Sound designer – Andrew Stevenson, We Love Jam
Music Supervision – Level Two

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus