Coca-Cola has packaged its new advertising campaign as some kind of
brave new strategy, but in no way does it mark a return to the kind of
maverick marketing that built the red-and-white livery into one of the
world’s best-known brands.
The new strategy will see a change in strapline from ’always’ to ’enjoy’
and a shift of the company’s near-pounds 1 billion global adspend
towards local advertising - or so it claims. Although local agencies
have been consulted on the campaign, Leo Burnett and Edge Creative have,
effectively, come up with a template, which local agencies can tweak as
necessary. This hardly amounts to the abandonment of global campaigns
that Coca-Cola is claiming. The vice-like grip of Atlanta seems to have
been camouflaged rather than loosened.
The new campaign is designed to convey a sense of magic, but it has met
with a lukewarm response in the US, where it launched last week.
Insiders say the magic of Coca-Cola is less apparent in this work than
in, say, the existing Christmas campaign.
The work breaks at a crucial moment for Coke. Its new head, Douglas
Daft, has shifted the author of the new advertising strategy, Charles
Frenette, to run the company’s troubled European outfit and installed a
new global marketing head, Steve Jones. Frenette’s move is seen neither
as a demotion nor a promotion, but it hardly represents a vote of
confidence from Daft in the new ad strategy.
Meanwhile, Coke’s share price is underperforming. The brand is far and
away the leader in the cola market - but the sector as a whole is
It is going to take brave marketing, for which Coke used to be known, to
However, since the fiasco of the launch of New Coke in 1985, and the
resulting launch of Classic Coke in the same year, the company has
lacked the courage to take risks - the ’enjoy’ campaign ran for an
uneventful seven years. But risks are necessary if the company is going
to turn around its flagging performance.