If I say the word “Fruitopia” to you, there’s a decent chance you’ll respond with some comment about the 1990s—the savviest among you might even say “1994” specifically. Fruitopia was the brainchild of a marketing head at Coca-Cola named Sergio Zyman—he also brought the world the overt GenX pandering elixir OK Cola right around the same time. The fruit-flavored tea concoction was a clear attempt to move in on the territory staked out by Snapple, and while Fruitopia had its day in the sun, as is often the case the first product to define a niche gets to own that niche.
Fruitopia is remembered today for its neo-hippie trappings. The flavors had names like The Grape Beyond, Tangerine Wavelength, Citrus Consciousness, and Raspberry Psychic Lemonade, and the marketing consisted mainly of trippy and “deep” kaleidoscope commercials featuring cosmic music scored and performed by Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins and the Muffs, among others.
Marty Cooke and Andrew Chinich of Chiat/Day oversaw the campaign; they reached out to Bush and were delighted when she agreed to do nine spots for the drink. According to Cooke, Bush indicated that “she was interested in providing a lot of variety, from Japanese drummers to Moroccan music ... and she came through in spades.”
In Graeme Thomson’s book Kate Bush: Under the Ivy, we get this:
[Bush] accepted a commission to write several brief pieces of music to accompany the $30m US TV ad campaign for the launch of Coca-Cola’s ne fruit drink Fruitopia…. It seemed an incongruous move. Bush had consistently turned down advances of this nature….
The motivation for her changing tack wasn’t clear but was probably varied: far from the commercial ingenue she sometimes appears, certainly the financial rewards would have been extremely significant; perhaps she liked the tone of the ads, which were relatively innoative and visually stimulating and over which she was given complete artistic control. She may also have recognised an opportunity to cast the net of her music a little wider, while also finding a home for all the melodic waifs and rhythmic strays that had never quite found a home in her “proper” songs. ... [each melody hinted] at a longer piece, several reminiscent of the kind of odd, rhythmic, electronic pop she was making around the time of The Dreaming.
Here are the ads—in some of them, Bush supplies identifiable vocals, as in “Fighting Fruit” in which you can hear her chant “Hey hey fruit!” and “Skin,” in which you can hear her uttering a sort of “bol,” or Indian rhythmic syllable, that sounds like “digga dha.”
Kate Bush, “Fighting Fruit”
Kate Bush, “Person”
Kate Bush, “Skin” (diggy dha)
Kate Bush, “Nice”
Kate Bush, “Passion”
Kate Bush, “Soul”
Kate Bush, “What If”
Kate Bush, “Thirsty”
Kate Bush, “Solstice”
Cocteau Twins, original
Cocteau Twins, restored
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Kate Bush, fitness guru
OK Soda: Coca-Cola’s embarrassing attempt at courting Generation X