Coke Spots Present Slices of Life

NEW YORK Coca-Cola said it would introduce new executions this weekend in its “Coke side of life” initiative, developed by its global creative agency Wieden + Kennedy.

Simultaneously, Coke is staging live events and making available downloadable content such as music, ring tones and other elements in an effort to help consumers further “experience” the brand.

First up is a launch party tonight in lower Manhattan featuring a performance by Ne-Yo and appearances by celebrities such as Jay-Z.

Two TV spots from the independent agency’s offices in Portland, Ore., and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, break on Monday night’s NCAA men’s basketball championship game on CBS. In the first commercial, a teenage boy drinks a Coke Classic while riding his bicycle, passing through several iterations of ebullient parades, complete with marching bands, singers and celebratory crowds. When he finishes the soft drink, the hoopla disappears and he stares at an empty street.

A second spot, “Ring Tones,” presents two strangers sitting on a bench. The young man imitates the sounds of a ringing cell phone to the slightly amused woman next to him. He pulls a bottle of Coke from his knapsack, “answers” it, turns to her, and offering the drink says, “It’s for you.”

Coke’s global marketing leaders—svp of carbonated soft drink core brands Marc Mathieu, svp of Coke brands North America Katie Bayne and chief creative officer Esther Lee—met with reporters today and outlined a new, more detailed go-to-market strategy.

One of the cornerstones of the “Coke side of life” platform is how the various brands, especially Coke Classic, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, fit into consumers’ pursuit of happiness, said Lee.

“We had a mission to make Coke more important to people,” Lee said, adding that one of the biggest challenges was getting past “barriers of familiarity” with the brand for many consumers. “In the U.S., people have a deep affection for the brand, but it hasn’t been top of mind.”

Two more spots roll out later in April. One shows a woman “speed dating” and not finding a match until one of the men’s voices sounds like a Coke bottle being opened. In “First Taste,” an elderly man in a nursing home accepts a Coke from one of the staff, saying he’s never had one. After his first sip, he wonders what he’s missed all his life and is then shown running with the bulls, high-diving into a swimming pool and calling one of his contemporaries on the phone, declaring his love for her.

Lee said there was some internal debate at Coke about that last spot for having a “story” about an elderly man for such a youth-targeted brand.

Because the new platform attempts to be more universal and have a broader demographic reach, the team decided to green light the spot.

The work will be in rotation for about three months.