In 1994, Sprite® debuted what would become an iconic tagline and credo for generations of young people: Obey Your Thirst®. The message was simple, yet powerful: ignore the hype and always be true to yourself. 

Now, 22 years and dozens of creative executions later, Sprite is back with the latest manifestation of “Obey Your Thirst” — this time with a dose of fun and lighthearted, observational humor.

For its new “Wanna Sprite” integrated marketing campaign, Sprite is offering a refreshingly honest take on endorsements and what it means to be a Sprite endorser.

The idea is simple: the role of a Sprite endorser is unique, authentic and real. A Sprite endorser does not have to tell fans to drink a cool, crisp, refreshing lemon-lime Sprite because they already know how delicious it is. Instead, a Sprite endorser would simply invite fans to enjoy a Sprite by asking, “Wanna Sprite?”

To bring this idea to life, the brand is calling upon Sprite endorser extraordinaire LeBron James. 

James first became a Sprite brand ambassador in 2003 when his professional basketball career began. Today, the multi-talented sports and entertainment mogul remains the ultimate Sprite endorser.

“Our friend LeBron James embodies all the values Sprite supports – authenticity, transparency and individuality,” said Bobby Oliver, director, Sprite & Citrus Brands, Coca-Cola North America. “There is no one more fitting than LeBron to star in our new ‘Wanna Sprite’ campaign, which is meant to empower our fans to stay true to their love of the brand and celebrate how delicious, refreshing and thirst-quenching Sprite is.”

In a series of lighthearted spots appearing in digital media and broadcast television, James’ comedic acting chops and genuine love of Sprite take center stage. James shares that a Sprite endorser would never tell someone to drink a cool, crisp, refreshing lemon-lime Sprite, no matter the circumstances. Even if someone was eating spicy tacos or sitting poolside on a hot summer day, or if cool “influencers” were doing it, or even if James was in a Sprite commercial, he still wouldn’t tell someone to drink Sprite.

Rather, a Sprite endorser like James would invite fans to enjoy a Sprite by asking them if they “Wanna Sprite.”

“We created ‘Wanna Sprite’ to have a bit of fun with endorsements. Sprite is being as clear and transparent with the idea of endorsements as the beverage itself,” said Danielle Henry, group director, Integrated Marketing Content, Coca-Cola North America. “The tone of the creative is intended to be fun and lighthearted, while also being authentic and honest – just like our Sprite fans.”

Kicking off this month and rolling into 2017, Sprite will actively engage with its fans in social and digital media and offer them ways to endorse the brand they love. The brand will post original #WannaSprite content featuring James, such as stills, GIFs and cinemagraphs, throughout the campaign. In addition, the #WannaSprite hashtag will be accompanied by a custom green Sprite bottle Twitter emoji.

James isn’t the only Sprite endorser participating in the campaign.

The 60-second spot “Endorser” features a cameo by hip-hop artist and Atlanta native Lil Yachty, who performs a parody of his hit single “Minnesota.” The re-written song replaces the chorus “Cold like Minnesota” with “Cold like a Sprite soda” to emphasize the cool, crisp, refreshing qualities of Sprite. Hip-hop artist Vince Staples also will participate in the campaign via social media.

The “Wanna Sprite” campaign was developed by Wieden + Kennedy New York. Neal Brennan, who is best known as the co-writer and co-creator of the Comedy Central series “Chappelle's Show,” directed the creative. The content is live online and will air on TV starting Oct. 17.

Learn more about the campaign on the Sprite Tumblr page.