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Coke's Powerade Scores With LeBron

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NEW YORK A multimillion-dollar ad campaign created by independent Creative Presence Partners is set to launch for Powerade Flava23, said Coca-Cola representatives on Wednesday.

The beverage is named in honor of its spokesman and inspiration, LeBron James, the NBA's Rookie of the Year and a member of the U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team.

Powerade Flava23, available nationally beginning Sept. 1, will be supported by an extensive promotional program designed by the Atlanta-based shop. Media components include print, Internet, point-of-purchase and a limited-edition comic produced by DC Comics. The budget was not revealed; Coca-Cola spent $24 million to relaunch the beverage in 2001, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Coke said that Cleveland Cavalier James was "involved in every aspect of the creation" of Powerade Flava23, from choosing its "sourberry" flavor profile, to selecting its signature burgundy color and developing graphics, which feature a stylized comic version of James soaring through the air. Powerade commissioned DC Comics to create a story about James, entitled "King James," which will be available free with the purchase of three 32-ounce bottles of Powerade at participating retail locations.

"The Powerade brand has always been on the cutting-edge of sports drink innovation, so collaborating on a new Powerade with LeBron James is a natural step for us," Javier Benito, chief marketing officer and president, retail division, Coca-Cola North America, said in a statement. "Because LeBron was integrally involved in the development of Powerade Flava23, it truly reflects his personality: bold, cutting-edge and unique."

—Brandweek staff report