Cravings and Catfights in Coke Ads

New Spots for Flagship Brand, via Cliff Freeman, Use Dark Humor
NEW YORK–The absence of Coke can lead to malice, or, at least that’s the idea behind Coca-Cola’s latest advertising for its flagship cola.
In the first brand Coke effort from roster shop Cliff Freeman and Partners, two 30-second spots show how people can get angry when they can’t get a Coke.
In one spot, a large family gathers in the backyard during a re-union to take a portrait. When the 101-year-old matriarch rolls up in her motorized wheelchair, a woman asks, “Can I get you anything, grandma?” The old woman asks for a Coke. Told there is none, she begins yelling, and the family scatters as she angrily maneuvers her wheelchair through the crowd.
The spots end with the line, “Next time,” and the word “Enjoy” then appears on screen next to a bottle of Coke.
“This is the first time we’ve used this kind of humor,” said Darryl Cobbin, vp of consumer communications for Coca-Cola North America. “This campaign is the one we, Cliff and consumers thought was right. A key message that we got from focus groups was ‘don’t take yourselves too seriously.’ “
Cliff Freeman, chairman and chief creative officer, said, “The client wanted to get people refocused on Coke.” That no one is shown drinking the product is a departure for the brand, but reinforces the devastation of its absence, Cobbin added. One executive close to Coke expressed concern over the strategy, saying it is “unusual for Coca-Cola to be shown as anything but ubiquitous.”
In the second spot, two “best friends” engage in a catfight at graduation, when one discovers the other didn’t bring any Coke to celebrate.
During opening ceremonies next month for the Sydney Olympics, two new 60-second Cliff Freeman spots will bow. One shows a soldier returning home; the other shows an American family greeting a Chinese exchange student. Both soldier and student are chagrined when they are not offered Cokes.
Previous spots in the “Enjoy” series focused on the sensory experience of drinking Coke. K