Coke to Debut C2 Campaign

NEW YORK Coca-Cola has struck first in the low-carb cola wars, debuting C2 today during an event in Los Angeles.

The ad campaign, via WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, uses music from the Rolling Stones and Queen, the company said, and will break in TV, radio, outdoor, cinema and online. Its tagline is, “Half the carbs. Half the cals. All the great taste.”

The Stones’ rock anthem, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” plays in the first spot set to break during the season finale of American Idol on Fox Tuesday and Wednesday. A second spot, set to break in July, will feature Queen’s “I Want to Break Free.”

In the first spot, various scenes depict people in situations where they can’t get what they want. For example, a man rushes up to a crowded escalator while the onscreen super reads, “You can’t jump the line.” A group of beachgoers quickly gather up their belongings as a storm blows in. The onscreen super reads, “You can’t change the weather.”

As the Stones’ line, “But if you try sometime, you might find, you get what you need,” rings out, people are shown enjoying C2. The legend, “Half the carbs, half the cals. All the great taste,” closes out the spot.

The second spot includes various people who, in bursts of inspirational freedom, do things they normally wouldn’t dream of doing. For example, a group of executives prance around in a sprinkler, and a teacher rides a tricycle through the school’s hallways.

Katie Bayne, senior vice president of integrated marketing for Coke, would not disclose media spending on the first leg of the campaign but said the company expects to generate 900 million impressions over the next 30 days.

“This is the strongest media buy behind any of our brand launches in the last 20 years,” Bayne said. Part of the media buy includes a broadcast of the first spot across 30-networks simultaneously on June 13 at 9 p.m., Bayne said.

Coke spent $25 million in media on the May 2002 launch of Vanilla Coke, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Sources estimated that Coke would put $50 million in media behind C2 over the next year [Adweek, March 15].

In a statement, president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola North America Don Knauss said, “We’re responding again to what our consumers are telling us they want. Today’s consumers are looking for choices that fit their lifestyles. They want to keep enjoying the special cola taste that Coca-Cola delivers, but with the option of a lower-carb, lower-cal soft drink. Coca-Cola C2 gives that freedom of choice.”

Marketing teams from Coke will be in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami this week dispensing samples to consumers. C2, which debuted in Japan two weeks ago, will be on stores shelves in the U.S. by early June.

C2 is the latest of four new cola products the company has introduced since 2002. Those brand extensions include Vanilla Coke, Diet Vanilla Coke, Diet Coke with Lemon, and, most recently, Diet Coke with Lime.

PepsiCo is expected to launch its low-carb Pepsi Edge sometime this summer. Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York will create the ads.