GLOBAL BRIEF: Diet Coke abandons the 80s - Diet Coke is ditching ’just for the taste of it’ for more humour

Remember the Jane Fonda Workout video? Even if you were one of the millions of happy customers, you probably haven’t popped it in your VCR since the 80s.

Remember the Jane Fonda Workout video? Even if you were one of the

millions of happy customers, you probably haven’t popped it in your VCR

since the 80s.



You know that, but some of the most sophisticated marketers in the world

apparently don’t. A classic case is Coca-Cola. The marketer that so

seldom gets it wrong has presided over 80s-styled ’just for the taste of

it’ ads for Diet Coke in the US for most of this decade. To be fair,

it’s not that it hasn’t wanted to bring diet drinks kicking and

screaming into the 90s, it’s just that nothing else has really worked.

The one serious attempt to dispense with their dated jingle was a brief

campaign in 1994, featuring the line ’this is refreshment’, but it

failed to gel.



Although the diet drinks market is still growing, it’s lagging behind

the rest of the soft drinks market. And, although Diet Coke has retained

its place as the third-largest soft drinks brand in the US, there is a

belief that it must grow by converting what are referred to as

’full-calorie drinkers’.



Enter a series of quaint animated tales and the line ’you are what you

drink’. The first three executions, created by Lowe and Partners/SMS in

New York, break this week and introduce humour into the series -

featuring beautiful women enhanced by drinking Diet Coke. If successful,

they will eventually be taken up in other main markets around the

world.



In the UK, they are likely to bring the curtain down on the revamped

’Diet Coke break’ spot featuring female office workers ogling a hunky

male delivery man. When Lowes in New York came up with its original

construction worker ad in 1993, and despite the odds against it, the

spot actually came across as a humorous representation of the

empowerment of female sexuality. Unfortunately, the follow-up, from Leo

Burnett, looks rather 80s.



Lowes has already shot alternative versions of the new films. One

features the Diet Coke brand used in the English-speaking world, Norway

and Brazil.



The other uses the Coke Lite name used where the word ’diet’ has

negative or medicinal overtones.



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