Coke Switches TV Ad Rotation

NEW YORK-Coca-Cola has changed the rotation of its TV advertising for first-quarter 2001 by delaying the broadcast of several football-themed spots from Cliff Freeman and Partners here until August-September 2001. They were originally scheduled to run throughout January [Adweek, Dec. 11].

Instead, the Atlanta-based beverage giant will introduce a new teen-targeted spot in January from Cliff Freeman and begin rotating two teen-targeted commercials that originally broke last September, into January and February media buys, said Darryl Cobbin, vp of consumer communications for Coke North America.

Cobbin said the decision to postpone the football-themed spots for later in the year came last week after he viewed the six rough cuts he described as “a pleasant surprise.” “We asked Cliff and his folks to deliver three football-related spots,” Cobbin said. “I’m looking at the rough cuts and he’s got six executions there, and I’m thinking, this campaign is sustainable (beyond playoff and Super Bowl season).

“It was literally the number of executions” that spurred the decision to delay the work until later in 2001, Cobbin said. “It is indeed a campaign. I was surprised. I couldn’t believe that six spots were in a position to rotate.”

Cobbin confirmed that the work, directed by a team from the Los Angeles-based Traktor, takes the form of an instructional film with themes that include how to watch football and how to throw a football party [Adweek, Dec. 11]. He would not comment on additional spots except to say, “We’re excited about the work. It’s hilarious in true Cliff Freeman style.”

Of the upcoming “words” spot from Cliff Freeman that shows teens hanging out together, Cobbin said the newest one shows young people on a bridge watching a train pass underneath. The two earlier teen-targeted spots, also from Cliff Freeman, broke during the Summer Olypmics in September and showed young people watching a sunrise from a rooftop and another group dancing around a bonfire in the woods at night.

The latter two will be put into rotation throughout January and February, Cobbin said.

Additional advertising for Coke Classic that will break in the first quarter includes some NASCAR-related TV spots from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, and Winter Olympics work from McCann-Erickson, New York, Cobbin said.

Cobbin said he expects the “Enjoy” tagline to continue throughout much of 2001. However, he noted that the new overall brand strategy being spearheaded by the Interpublic Group will be unveiled in first-quarter 2001 and that that approach will eventually be “woven into” all advertising for Coca-Cola Classic. “You’re going to see new Coca-Cola brand work throughout the year,” Cobbin said. “And a big push in the summer.”

He declined to say which agency would handle the next round of Coke Classic advertising and did not know when the IPG strategy would be implemented.