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'Matrix' Personifies Wieden's Powerade Push

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LOS ANGELES Coca-Cola's Powerade has launched a campaign linked to the May 15 release of Warner Bros.' Matrix Reloaded film.

The multi-million dollar effort supports the launch of a new Powerade drink that comes in a 32 ounce bottle and has a mix of black cherry and anise flavorings. Four 30-second TV spots from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., which began airing nationally this week, show a man in sunglasses and a dark suit who is sitting with his hands folded in a vibrant green room.

In one spot, the man delivers the line, "Active human beings are capable of generating up to 12,000 BTUs of body heat. In essence, it's like you're all a bunch of walking, talking, living, breathing, stinking, disease-ridden batteries. And all batteries need a little recharging, now and again." In another spot, the man asks, "When you see me sitting here in this room, encouraging you to drink more Powerade, do you ever get the feeling you're living in a virtual reality dream world fabricated by artificially intelligent machines to enslave your mind while they harvest your body heat for energy?"

Spots then show a Powerade bottle, which explodes, and scrolling numbers and symbols resembling computer code. The tagline: "Drink more Powerade."

There are also two 15-second executions and a 60-second in-theater spot, all of which feature the agent character.

"This is clearly one of our core message planks for this year," said David Preston, senior brand manager for Powerade. "It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, marketing program for 2003." Spending on the effort was undisclosed. Powerade spent $11 million on ads last year, according to CMR.

Preston noted that Coca-Cola created a proprietary beverage for the Matrix Reloaded launch, which is rolling out now. While it will not appear in the film, Matrix-like graphics wrap the bottle, he said. The Powerade brand has also been integrated into a Matrix Reloaded video game, which also launches May 15, said Preston.

Powerade was not linked to the first Matrix movie, but the Atlanta-based client ran ads in 2001 that were inspired by the film, said Preston. "The Matrix was the vehicle for where we wanted to take the positioning," he said. "We wanted to focus on hydration, style and a cool attitude and the Matrix seemed to do a good job of personifying it."

The campaign targets males ages 18-24, which is also the primary demographic for the film, said Preston. Ads are running through May 3 during sports and late-night programming, as well as on cable stations such as MTV, said Preston.