Can there be anyone reading this who doesn't know what Coca-Cola is? It is, after all, the world's most famous, most valuable, most widely available consumer brand, supported by an army of variant products, not least Diet Coke (or Coca-Cola Light as it has traditionally been known in most non-English-speaking markets). It is the clear leader in Kantar's annual Brand Footprint ranking, which ranks the world's "most chosen" supermarket brands. During 2019, Kantar estimated Coke was the target of almost 6.1bn separate individual consumer purchase actions worldwide. (The next most purchased consumer brand - Colgate - had two-thirds that number). It is also the most important product by far within parent The Coca-Cola Company, accounting for almost half of combined volume sales: around 13.6bn cases in 2019 out of a combined total of 30.3bn. But despite its ubiquity and popularity, the Coke family has seen sales growth stall since the close of the 1990s as worldwide consumers develop a taste for other beverages, especially those with low or no sugar content. Coke initiated a painful restructuring, and then launched its biggest-ever marketing campaign in 2001, with a new emphasis on local markets instead of global conformity. Think Local, Act Local was the new strategy; but that too was slow to deliver results. Since then the group has struggled to find new ways of lifting sales of its core product. One way has been with the steady introduction of new variants. These vary widely from country to country, but the most successful in recent years was launched under the name Coke Zero, later reinvented as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (or Coca-Cola No Sugar in some markets). This is a no-calorie version of the core brand designed to be more appealing to male drinkers who were put off by the "Diet" tag in Diet Coke. Another high-profile launch in recent years has been Coca-Cola Energy with added caffeine, vitamins, guarana and taurine. Coca-Cola is also a big believer in high profile global sponsorships, most notably of the Olympics and FIFA football tournaments. However, one major victim of the new approach has been the quality of Coke's advertising. Once widely regarded as one of the industry's most creatively interesting advertisers, recent campaigns have tended towards overt hard-sell.
Capsule checked 17th April 2020
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Historical profile information for brand Coca-Cola
Adbrands Daily Update 29th Jul 2020: "Open Like Never Before". Coca-Cola unveils a bold and uplifting post-Covid manifesto for Europe with this fine campaign from 72andSunny Amsterdam, featuring the warm and witty words of rising British star George the Poet. Above all this is a film about inclusivity and fellow feeling, not division, and George's message is one from which we can all benefit. Coke's advertising has rediscovered its creative edge over the last year or so after a prolonged mid-decade slump. According to Coke's SVP EMEA marketing, Walter Susini, "'Open Like Never Before' is not just a campaign, it's an extension of our purpose, because fundamentally our goal is to refresh the world and make a difference across community and society. Together we believe we can emerge stronger from this moment." Most impressive of all here is the lack of corporate branding. The Coke logo is most noticeable for its near-absence from the film, appearing only fleetingly in the background of a handful of shots. A fine start to the "better normal".
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Jul 2020: "The Great Meal". Coca-Cola's new global campaign from Anomaly is one of the brand's best for years, certainly it's most grown-up. We've been here before with Coke; the idea that "Together Tastes Better", and that getting along is more important than doing your own thing. This latest iteration, though, drops some of the tricksy attention-grabbing that, for example, marked that last ad featuring Natasha Lyonne and battling superheroes. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to identify it as a Coke ad at all until quite late on. Instead the ad celebrates one of the few positives about the lockdown experience (one it seems we shall get to know even better in the coming months): the family meal, wherever in the world it takes place. Does Coke make that meal taste better? Well, probably yes for some. But we can allow some artistic license here. A fine husky voiceover too from up-and-coming actress Soleil Patterson.
Adbrands Daily Update 17th Mar 2020: "What Your Mama Gave Ya / Nerds". Anomaly NY's ads for Diet Coke are still a little too heavyhanded with their hard sell for our taste, but at least they're getting slowly better, or at least more inventive. And they're a vast improvement on the horrendous to-camera product endorsements that preceded them. Remember them? "Look, here's the thing about Diet Coke: it's delicious and it makes me feel good..." Bleuurgh. At least Anomaly is getting the chance to sprinkle a little creative pixie dust on the blunt demands originating from Coca-Cola marketing department, who seem to fear that Diet Coke drinkers are becoming a social minority who need some ammunition to fend off the social media trolls. OK, say the new ads, so maybe we are mummy's boys or nerds, but what's wrong with that? Mummy's boys and Nerds rock, dude!
Adbrands Daily Update 1st Feb 2020: "Show Up". Is there any Super Bowl advertiser who hasn't already unveiled their commercial ahead of tomorrow's game? Among the latest deluge is Coca-Cola who released the full film for its Coke Energy spot a day after teasing a 15-second edit. Considering the talent involved - the agency is Wieden & Kennedy Portland and the ad stars Martin Scorsese, Jonah Hill and rapper YBN Cordae - it's a shame it's not a better ad. But still, Martin Scorsese! As if he needs more energy. Apparently, Jonah Hill was signed first for the spot and was asked if he had any suggestions for who could play his friend. It was he who suggested Scorsese - they've been pals since 'Wolf of Wall Street'. We bet Coke and W&K couldn't believe their luck when Marty said yes. It's been a busy week for Jonah Hill, who also debuted as a commercials director with a spot for Adidas.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd May 2019: Coca-Cola Europe has launched the flagship brand's most daring variant range to-date in the form of a set of four Signature Mixers, designed to be used in cocktails. The four products - Smoky, Spicy, Herbal and Woody - have been developed in partnership with a team of top bartenders from the UK and Spain, and are essentially Classic Coke but with the addition of subtle additional flavours that enhance dark spirits like whisky and rum. The products will be available in selected outlets across Western Europe from this month.
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