Coke plans to put its polar bears to work

Coca-Cola USA will allow its soda-guzzling spokesbeasts, the “Cola Bears,” no time for hibernation this winter. Coke will make the computer-animated polar bears, which first appeared early this year in one spot of Creative Artists Agency’s “Always Coke” campaign, the centerpiece of a multi-faceted winter advertising and promotional putsch. It will include their own Christmas-themed ad campaign, a cross-promotion with Hardee’s Food Systems and a possible role as the mascots for the soda giant’s 1994 Winter Olympics sponsorship program.
Additionally, the Olympic role would create millions more consumer impressions for the bears, as Coke plans a repeat of its promotion from the last Winter Games, “Medals & Millions.” That instant-win sweepstakes would likely plaster the lumbering creatures across packaging of all of Coke’s brands, plus in-store displays and promotional collateral. That effort will be in addition to a role in the company’s estimated $20 million media outlay across CBS’s two weeks of coverage of the February event.
“They’re looking to capitalize on the one real bright spot of ‘Always Coke,'” said a source privy to Coke’s plans. “The bear is getting a better response from consumers than the Mean Joe Greene spot.”
The beast will also show up in Hardee’s advertising, as well as behind the counters of the No. 5 fast food system. Hardee’s will run a Cola Bear promotion for three weeks after Thanksgiving in its Hardee’s and Roy Rogers restaurants.
The plush Cola Bears, sporting the “Always Coca-Cola” campaign logo on their bellies, will be sold for between $2.50 and $3 with the purchase of special meals. Hardee’s will also likely include Cola Bear collectible cups with the meal and may offer a limited-time bear-themed dessert.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)