When life gives you lemons, take them on fun adventures. That’s what a Marlborough schoolgirl did with the lid of a Karma Cola ‘Lemmy’ drink, which she shared on a dedicated Instagram page. Lemmy has been surfing, singing, gone on a safari, cycled and made art, and all this happened with no prompts or knowledge (initially) from Karma Cola; but, as to be expected, the brand is pretty stoked Lemmy's living the good life.
Lucy Blakiston, 18, from Marlborough Girls’ College began taking Lemmy. on adventures in October last year. “My two friends, Ruby, Liv and I were sitting in a little cafe, and Liv ordered a Lemmy Lemonade,” she says.
“I was starting to play around with a bit of photography at this point, and I picked up the Lemmy lid and positioned it in front of my other friend Ruby's face, thinking it would make a cool photo to put up on Instagram.”
She says as she was taking the photo she started thinking about how cool it would be to travel the world and do a photo exhibition of Lemmy’s face in front of famous landmarks. “But I was just getting way too ahead of myself, as I generally tend to do,” she says.
“After the photo turned out pretty cool, I started carrying around the Lemmy lid and taking photos of people I knew doing cool stuff – graduating, going on holidays, at parties etc. – and decided to post them all on an Instagram account. Voila - '#Lemmyslife'.”
Lemmyslife now has 390 fans, and counting.
Blakiston says she started the account of her own volition and there was no prompting from the brand, though she has always loved Karma Cola drinks “and what the whole brand stands for”.
“I honestly didn’t even think about the brand or the bigger picture when I started the account,” she says. “It was just a funky looking lid.”
Her favourite Lemmy adventure was created by her brother. “I got my older brother Nick to take a Lemmy lid on holiday over to Sydney, and he took a gorgeous photo of Lemmy wedged between a rock at the beautiful blue mountains, with a phenomenal view in the background. The caption is ‘Stuck between a rock and a hard place’.”
She says Karma Cola eventually caught wind of what she was up to and made contact. “When they found out about the account they posted it on their Facebook page and then emailed me and asked if I needed more lids, so I said ‘Yes!’. When I received the package from them it had posters, Lemmy drinks and a t-shirt. I was stoked. It was pretty cool to be doing something purely for fun, and have it recognised by Karma Cola. They're a bunch of pretty cool people.”
And you know it’s a win for your brand when someone starts interacting with it in a creative and fun way.
Karma Cola’s head of marketing and storytelling (or, according to her LinkedIn page, chief of propaganda & the dark arts), Angela Barnett says she loves what Blakiston is doing with Lemmy. “It’s always great when fans create their own artistic spin on your brand,” she says.
Barnett says Karma Cola found out about it reasonably early, after Blakiston tagged the brand in a post not long after setting up ‘#Lemmyslife’.
“Naturally we got in touch and sent her a box of Lemmy as a thank you,” she says.
“We love it that Lemmy visits people in hospital, hangs with friends, has tried smoking, drinks coffee and explores – even off-shore. We love it that a fan of Lemmy has created something unique. We love it that Lucy uses our brand to express herself, and her own life in a way. That's gold,” she says.
Ultimately, a brand is a set of beliefs, she says. “The good ones help fans reflect something about themselves.”
So, 'what’s next for Lemmy?' we ask Blakiston.
“This year I’m heading off to Uni in Wellington, so Lemmy is probably going to have a taste of the student life.”
Lemmy was originally brought to life by the creator of Karma Cola Simon Coley, underground comic artist and creative director Matt Campbell and Heath Lowe and Emma Kaniuk from Special Group.