Justin Timberlake is a chamelion of sorts, a former boy-bander turned solo pop star turned comedic actor turned serious actor. And he multitasks quite nicely—and hilariously—in this Sauza 901 tequila ad. Not only does he star as an anthropomorphic lime, he came up with the concept and has a major stake in the business.
Timberlake quietly entered the alcohol category in 2009 with the launch of what was then just called 901. The name is a nod to his hometown—901 is the Memphis area code. Last year Timberlake rebranded the spirit in partnership with Sauza, and with this campaign he really takes ownership of his tequila brand.
The full three-minute spot is a classic cautionary tale, with Timberlake’s lime falling on hard times and sporting a bathrobe for his tell-all interview.
Kevin George, global CMO at Sauza parent company Beam Suntory, tells Fast Company that Timberlake pitched the idea in December. “He came in and said, ‘Here’s what I’m thinking,’ and right away we knew it was something completely different for the category,” George says. “Our meeting was literally an hour long, and in that short time we decided to make it happen. Did I have some reservations? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, we decided to figure it out and get it done. It’s been a great collaboration, but it largely comes from his idea and the tone he wanted to set for the brand.”
The campaign also includes the video below, which Timberlake tweeted out on Monday. A 30-second version of the lime spot will start airing on television on Tuesday.