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Coke's Recent Strategy - Creative thought leader or business driver?

Posted by jdblair | August 15, 2013

I read an article this morning about a not so new direction Coke is taking with some of its advertising.  A campaign launched today in the U.K. that depicts a split screen of two men aired.  One is a 1950's man, and the other is a man in present-day.  It shows a day in the life of a "man of their time".  Essentially, the 1950's character had a much healthier lifestyle - including hard work daily, smaller portions, healthy snack options and far less stressful activities.  At the end of the day the 1950's man can enjoy a Coke guilt-free.  Coke has been rolling out healthy living efforts and trying to inform the public on obesity, and habits than can lead or even help to curb unhealthy living and poor health due to weight gain. 

Coke has been airing and displaying these types of lifestyle ads for a little while now, and I do think it is some pretty good creative at that, but why haven't I seen any?  The question begs, due to the fact that when I watch TV I am actually waiting for the commercials to start.  When I read the latest issue of Rolling Stone - you guessed it - before reading my musical flavor of the month article - I check out the full page ads, in detail, and reflect on them.  My point is that if this is such a hot button for Coke, why is it so scarcely positioned in the market?  I would think an all out war on bad lifestyle choices as it relates to nutrition would be a focal point for the beverage giant.  I may be wrong here as well, but the last time I checked the U.S. was in worse shape than the U.K. - so why not give the first impressions of this approach to the U.S.?  Of course it is possible that I am just eager to see some great creative! 

At the end of the day, success for any ad campaign relies heavily on placement and media strategy.  You cannot leave this essential element out of the equation.  I think Coke should take a look at it's media funnel and remember what needs to be at the top of a successful campaign.  There is also a chance that I am jumping the gun here and this is part of a broader strategy, but never forget the vital role of a success media strategy!

Food for thought: (pun intended) Why does this strategy seem to be taking front and center for so many "unhealthy" companies?  Instead of showing a guilt-free Coke, why not talk about sugar and processed foods and what this has brought to society?  Just a thought, a little off the topic, but worthy of brief discussion nonetheless. 

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