CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE - DIET COKE. Diet Coke is aiming to lure women through Hollywood glamour

Diet Coke is looking to change the way in which it talks to women.

Gone is the rippled torso of the iconic Diet Coke hunk and instead Kim Basinger, replete with fame and beauty, will use the power of celebrity to drive sales of the one-calorie drink.

As you'd expect from a brand as big as Diet Coke, the marketing programme will extend beyond TV. With the Oscars a recent memory, the TV spot, created by Lowe, will support the Diet Coke "Silver Screen" promotion. It's part of a three-year programme to build an association between the movie world and Diet Coke.

Mike O'Reilly, a board account director at Lowe, explains why cinema is a good association for the adult soft drinks brand: "Diet Coke has long been associated with the values of glamour, sophistication and sexiness. Linking the brand with movies and movie stars is therefore a perfect match."

In the TV spot, Basinger - chosen because of her longevity in the business, movie star quality and Oscar success - reminisces and fondly mocks some of the less desirable jobs she has done in her rise to Hollywood stardom.

Sitting in the back of a limousine and sipping a Diet Coke, she is surprised people can win her showbiz lifestyle for a day just by drinking the product.

The TV spot is designed to support the Silver Screen on-pack promotion, which gives VIP access to premieres. It's the first time Diet Coke has backed its on-pack activity with a TV ad, and it coincides with the high-profile CD offer that its arch-rival Pepsi has engineered, using Kym Marsh and Mis Teeq in its ads.

The offer will run during April and May, on all three products in the range (Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Lemon and Caffeine-Free Diet Coke). About 150 million special silver bottles and cans will go on sale with 100,000 runner-up prizes of Blockbuster videos and DVDs also available. The revamped packaging is designed to convey the glamour of the prizes, giving a greater on-shelf impact to encourage sales.

Despite the heavyweight TV campaign, expected to be seen by 80 per cent of adults approximately six times in its four-week duration, there is also a much wider strategic operation planned and a new variation on the logo to reflect the promotion.

There will be a heavy Diet Coke presence at film premieres during the year, which will include promotional cups, supermarket and Blockbuster point-of-sale activity, a full-page ad in the Blockbuster magazine and a direct mailing to more than one million homes.

Special movie weekends will also run this year. The first was held in March, in the run-up to the Academy Awards. Designed to be a "festival of films created by the people for the people", the three-day event, held at the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square, began with a singalong musical classic and ten of the UK's favourite films and previews of US box office hits following over the weekend.

A spokeswoman for Diet Coke said: "We have lots of activity planned, each element will have a different media mix, not always focusing on TV. This is the launch of the association with film, and the mass-media campaign has two purposes: communicate the brand identity and build on brand values."

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