Coca-Cola advertising & marketing assignments

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Selected Coca-Cola advertising

 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 2020, Kantar estimated Coke was the target of more than 6.5bn 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. Launched in 2019, it met with only limited success in the US, and was eventually discontinued there in 2021 although it continues to be marketed in Europe. 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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Which agencies handle advertising for Coca-Cola? Find out more from Adbrands Account Assignments

Who are the competitors of Coca-Cola? See Non Alcoholic Beverages Sector & Best Global Brands ranking

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Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. See also:

Coca-Cola Company
Coca-Cola GB

Historical profile information for brand Coca-Cola

Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 17th May 2021: "Just Because". We haven't quite decided whether we love or don't love - hate being far too strong a word - Droga5 London's first big campaign for Diet Coke. We do know we admire the ad's immensely bold, almost dream-like faux-retro vibe and unapologetic determination to do things its own way. We've certainly come a long way from female office girls ogling a shirtless construction worker on his 11.30am Diet Coke break. But we suspect the new ad, for all its doubtless charms, may prove to be one of those Marmite campaigns that you either love or hate. They've got the urban hipster market all sewn upn here, but we suspect other audiences may be harder to convince. Top marks to Coke's marketing department, though, for taking a gamble like this, after so many years of cookiecutter blandness.

Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Feb 2021: "Open That Coca-Cola". "Ooooh! Ahhhh!" indeed. Wieden & Kennedy London just delivered what is almost certainly Coca-Cola's best and most infectious ad in a decade. There's no attempt to be serious or offer any sort of message (like last year's "Be Open" campaign with Natasha Lyonne). This is just about pure pleasure, and as a result it's probably the first Coke spot in years that might actually persuade someone under the age of 25 to rush out and buy one. Commissioned by Coca-Cola GB, it looks like it's designed to roll out across all European markets. Tyler the Creator created the accompanying dance track, which gets its own release on streaming platforms next week.

Adbrands Daily Update 9th Nov 2020: "The Magic of Coca-Cola". In different hands, Coca-Cola's latest Christmas ad could have been a soppy throwaway, as most of its seasonal predecessors have tended to be. Instead Wieden & Kennedy London and star director Taika Waititi use clever but respectful comic exaggeration to turn dross into gold. The sentimentality remains intact, but the unusual settings and the inherent absurdity of this Dad's globe-spanning quest to fulfill his mission removes the saccharine, with the result that those swelling strings at the end might even bring a tear to your eye. It's probably Coke's best Christmas ad since the polar bears.

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!

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