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Ocean Spray wiggles and jiggles its way to the top

November 2022

This is a self-funded case study using our ad testing solution.

As we fast become consumed by the holiday season, with it comes the associated avalanche of advertising. Brands from every waking category are all looking to outdo one another in the festive sweepstakes, which naturally means finding new and creative ways of standing out.

Enter Ocean Spray, who has come to the party and tackled the holidays in a manner which can only be described as delightfully absurd.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of viewing Power Your Holidays, you should — it’s certainly a doozy. What starts out as a monotonous family dinner takes an unexpected turn, as Ocean Spray’s Jellied Cranberry Sauce becomes the star attraction. The guests quickly become entranced by the jelly’s fidgeting state, struggling to control their bodily functions as they instinctively start mirroring the product’s mesmerizing convulsions.

It begs the age-old question: Does advertising need a ‘message’ (in the traditional sense) in order to work? Or can fun, provocative, and irreverent advertising be just as effective at delivering both short- and long-term brand outcomes? Using our 3Cs framework, we tested Power Your Holidays to find out the answer.

  • Captivate: Be emotive; stand out and grab attention.
  • Connect: Be recognizable; synergize with expectations.
  • Compel: Be motivating; drive behavioral change.


In the same way the dinner guests were mesmerized by the squirming jelly sauce, viewers at home were similarly spellbound by the ad’s quirkiness. People were left in raptures following the swift transition from glum to exhilaration, finding the characters’ gyrations (and appropriately titled Wiggle Wiggle, Jiggle Jiggle soundtrack) highly memorable. While the odd series of events unsurprisingly rubbed some people up the wrong way, by-and-large the amusing storyline left the majority feeling happy and excited.

Ocean Spray - Power your holidays - Ad Testing - Captivate


Equally important to an ad standing out and grabbing people’s attention is creating a set of memory structures which clearly link to the brand. Ocean Spray’s role throughout the ad proved unmistakable, with its distinctly colored cranberry sauce the star of the show. More specifically, the product was the trigger to the wacky events which ensued — which is an important mechanism for ensuring the brand will be encoded in people’s memories. (You can read more about the ‘brand hero’ concept here.) While the ad’s irreverence was considered somewhat of a departure from the brand’s typical style, people did still consider it a reasonable fit with Ocean Spray.

Ocean Spray - Power your holidays - Ad Testing - Connect


What the ad lacked in rational arguments it certainly made up for in the emotional department. By positioning the brand as the life of the party and something which could Power Your Holidays, Ocean Spray was considered to be both fun and a suitable companion to holiday dinners. Together with the quirky approach to delivering this message, the ad successfully crafted a point of difference for Ocean Spray and ultimately strengthened predisposition toward the brand.

Ocean Spray - Power your holidays - Ad Testing - Compel

What are the learnings for marketers?

Does advertising need to communicate a rational message in order to work? It’s a question we often get asked, and one for which there unfortunately isn’t a black and white answer.

Many have (with great success) gone down the path of prioritizing information or a rational reason-to-believe with the goal of triggering a behavioral response. Equally, Ocean Spray’s Power Your Holidays proves that focusing on an emotional impression can be just as — if not more — effective at building favorable predisposition.

Crucial to the ad’s success was tapping into a multitude of success factors identified in our recently launched Creative Effectiveness Playbook, a 12-chapter series revealing the levers available to advertisers for achieving creative glory.

While the silly story could’ve been easily misconstrued as just that — silly — it instead successfully leveraged the simplicity and relatability of family gatherings often being stale and lifeless. By transforming the status quo in a humorous way, Ocean Spray was able to deliver effectiveness, performing strongly across all the 3Cs.

Ocean Spray - Power your holidays - Ad Testing - Cubery Rating

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