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Coke Brands in Pre-Game Push

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NEW YORK Coca-Cola will spend an estimated $3.5 million for several spots on the Super Bowl pre-game show for its new energy drink brands Vault and Full Throttle, sources said.

Coke representative Susan McDermott confirmed that Vault will have two 30-second commercials and Full Throttle will first be teased with two 15-second spots and then a 60-second ad just before the national anthem. She would not comment on Coke's media spend for the total 150 seconds of airtime.

One of the 30-second Vault spots is football-themed and shows a man who overhears his neighbor and son in their backyard practicing football. The man's son can barely kick the ball. After drinking a Vault, the father begins expanding his backyard. Throughout the spot, a menacing voiceover encourages his efforts. He knocks down neighbors' fences, uproots the soil, and ends up building a regulation football field in the backyard. Continuing to drink a bottle of Vault, he watches his son on the new field, complete with klieg lights, still unable to kick the football.

Another spot has the voiceover mocking a farmer whose traditional scarecrow isn't scaring crows away from his cornfield. So he drinks a Vault and builds a robotic scarecrow that zaps a crow and scares other scavengers such as gophers, rabbits and "hippies" from his field.

Two theme lines are used in the campaign from Publicis Groupe's Publicis in New York: "Drinks like a soda, kicks like an energy drink" and "Vault, get to it."

The difference between the brands is that Vault is a hybrid energy drink and soda, while Full Throttle is a "true" energy drink that has vitamins, McDermott said.

The two spots and one other ran in 10 tests markets in September. The third spot will roll out later this month.

Projected media spending on Vault and Full Throttle was not available. According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, in 2005, Coke spent $1.5 million in media on the Vault brand, which was not being advertised nationally last year.

The Full Throttle work is a national debut and shows a "tripped-out" semi-truck that has a huge Full Throttle can on the back instead of a trailer, McDermott said. Driving through a suburban neighborhood, the truck attracts a convoy of "macho"-looking vehicles that line up to drive behind it. When the procession comes up behind a small Jeep with a big Red Bull can on the back, the latter makes a right hand turn to get out of the way.

Independent Mother in New York created the Full Throttle work, which is tagged "Let your man out."

A Coke rep said the company believes the truckers who reacted negatively to the Full Throttle ad were reacting to an early, unfinished version of the spot. The final edit of the spot reflects changes that address the truckers' concerns about the portrayal of truckers as unsafe drivers, the rep said.