Coca-Cola Hones In on Teens; ‘Phases Out’ 2 Ads

New YORK—Coca-Cola has shifted the focus of its current “Enjoy” campaign to the teenage market, said a client representative.

Cliff Freeman and Partners recently pro-duced six spots—four showing people reacting angrily to the ab-sence of Coke and two teen-targeted spots.

Coke rep Mart Martin said that af-ter being tested, the “Graduation” and “Family Portrait” spots were “being phased out in favor of the [teen-targeted] ads,” be-cause “their message came through stronger” with consumers.

“Family Portrait” showed a frail matriarch exploding in anger after finding out that none of her kin had brought Coke to a family gathering. “Graduation” featured two best friends in a catfight because neither brought Coke.

Some said the move was planned before the spots broke, but sources said the switch occurred after consumers and bottlers reacted negatively to two of the four spots that broke in August. “Consumers found them mean spirited and unfunny,” one source said. “They don’t show the product, and they don’t make you feel good about the brand.”

The newer teen spots show teens enjoying a sunrise and dancing in the woods. Two mass-market spots still airing show a soldier coming home and an American family greeting a Chinese exchange student.

The spot substitution raised speculation about the status of Cliff Freeman’s relationship with Coke. “There are no roster changes right now,” Martin said. Simon Pierce, director of advertising for Coke North America, met with Cliff Freeman officials in New York last week. Agency chief Cliff Freeman dispelled talk of a rift, saying, “We were being briefed on the next thing we’re doing.”

Martin said the assignment was for “football-themed spots” for Coke Classic to air at November’s end. He said no holiday advertising had yet been assigned, and he did not know which shop would handle Coke ads for the first quarter.

Separately, another source said the mass-market spots the New York shop originally pitched were “darker but also funnier,” adding, “[Coke executives] watered it down.” Chris Casaburi