Bobble’s Fake Water Brand Brilliantly Spoofs Millennial Advertising Cliches

“Once” is for the young, footloose, fancy free . . . and environmentally bankrupt.

If you watch enough advertising aimed at anyone aged 14 to 30, certain patterns of tone, image, and style emerge. Young people, just livin’ the good life, embracing the moment, seizing the day and all that. To draw attention to the huge amount of waste created by single-use plastic water bottles, reusable bottle brand Bobble has tapped all these well-tread commercial cliches to reach the exact same audience.


Created by 72andSunny New York, the spot features beautiful young people doing all kinds of fun things, but cheekily veers into the ridiculous with a fake water brand called Once. As in, the plastic bottle is used once. It’s a smart take, using familiar imagery but with a wink-wink savvy that lets viewers in on the inside joke. “You get it, right?” the spot seems to be saying, positioning the Seventh Generation bottle brand as the smarter, cooler choice to the Poland Spring and Dasani crowd.

Last week at Fast Company‘s Innovation Festival, the agency gave a select group of attendees a preview of the spot, as well as a look at the brand positioning and strategy. The challenge, as laid out by 72andSunny New York director of strategy Tim Jones, is that the effects of disposable water bottles don’t feel personal to us. The insight behind the new campaign is that substance is the greatest form of style.

Agency managing director James Townsend said they had learned lessons from the latest work for Truth, in that it’s more effective to make something look uncool than it is to say it’s bad for you. It’s clear that approach is at play for Once, tapping sly humor without being preachy.

“Our biggest creative challenge was to make the impact of single-use plastics more personal and inspire a generation to change their behavior, without shaming them into it,” said Guillermo Vega, Executive Creative Director at 72andSunny’s New York office. “We thought the best way to do that was to expose single-use plastics as a fading trend and reveal bobble as a fashionable, reusable solution.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.