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Verizon's 'Susie' is Growing Up
By: Kaitlin T. Gallucci
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McCann Erickson's recent Verizon Wireless campaign, “Lemonade,” is expanding with engagement and philanthropy. Described by Adweek as “exceptional,” the commercial, which debuted in April, featured a little girl running her own lemonade stand; the entrepreneurial Susie successfully develops her sidewalk stand into a full-blown business with the help of her father’s Verizon smartphone. Now, “Susie” is auctioning the “first” commercially-produced bottle of Susie’s Lemonade on eBay, with proceeds going toward Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a charity that supports finding a cure for childhood cancers.

As if Susie’s character wasn’t endearing enough already…Adweek previously praised the spot for its excellent presentation of a positive female role model and “perfectly” delivered performances. Now, Susie is emerging in the real world as eBay user susielemon2011, explaining, “the best part about building your own lemonade business isn’t having a giant trampoline in the conference room, or jellybeans in all the water coolers, or even water balloon Wednesdays. It’s having the opportunity to give back. So I’m auctioning off the very first bottle of Susie’s Lemonade to come off the production line to raise money for a great charity started by a very brave little girl and her own lemonade stand…stay sweet, everyone.”

What started out as simply a fun and noteworthy advertisement now has the potential to develop into a long-running, memorable, and engaging campaign. Affiliations with charities are nothing new for branding, but in this case, the correlation between Susie’s Lemonade and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is so beautifully appropriate — both young, ambitious girls starting lemonade stands. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was created in the year 2000 by then-four-year-old Alexandra Scott. Battling childhood cancer, Alex started her own annual lemonade stand to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Word spread, and supporters globally began hosting their own lemonade stands to support Alex’s cause.

While young Susie did not come across as particularly philanthropic in the “Lemonade” ad, she didn’t necessarily come across as greedy either. The association with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation now solidifies Susie’s character as maintaining both childlike idealism and generosity.

Verizon and McCann Erickson have produced a heartwarming campaign, unlike many of the competitive technology/smartphone spots currently in rotation. There is great potential for Verizon now to turn the “Lemonade” spot into an entire “Susie’s Lemonade” campaign, which may very well have been in the works from the beginning. In the meantime, keep an eye on Susie’s eBay listing.

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About the Author
Kaitlin T. Gallucci is a New York based direct and digital marketing strategist. She tweets here.
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