Coke, Ripken Team Up for Classic Ad

NEW YORK — Coca-Cola is sending retiring Baltimore Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. to bat in a national TV spot set to break next week for Coke Classic. The spot will continue Coke’s current “Life tastes good” tag with a baseball twist.

Creative is from McCann-Erickson, N.Y. Spending was not revealed. Coke spent more than $194 million on Classic in 2000 and topped $75 million on spending from January through May 2001.

The ad will play up Ripken’s status as a classic iron man ballplayer whose abilities have withstood the test of time. Ripken is retiring from baseball after 20 years with the Orioles, during which time he broke Lou Gehrig’s long-standing consecutive game record by appearing in 2,632 straight games.

Ripken does relatively few ads, especially given his role as future Hall of Famer. But he has worked with Coke on several marketing promotions this year, including a “Dad’s Day at Camden Yards” promotion in May and a baseball card giveaway that Coke currently is sponsoring to honor Ripken’s final season in baseball.

Coke is trying to gain inroads with baseball fans as the season nears the playoffs and World Series. Pepsi, which is the official soft drink of Major League Baseball, currently fields a team that includes Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa, in addition to heavy-marketing hitter Britney Spears. Recent Coke Classic ads have featured performers Christina Aguilera and Wallflowers singer Jakob Dylan.