Diet Coke Slips On Its Red Dress

NEW YORK Diet Coke’s first major marketing push of the year will focus on women’s hearts—literally.

The No. 3 soft drink will launch new ads, packaging and events to raise awareness about women’s risk of heart disease in conjunction with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s “The heart truth” campaign.

The Heart Truth program introduced a red dress as a national symbol for women’s heart disease in 2002. Beginning Jan. 22, it will appear on 2.5 billion Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke and Diet Coke Plus products. National TV, print and online ads will appear during American Heart Month in February, but the first print ad will run in the Jan. 18 issue of People.

Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., handles the account. Diet Coke spent $45 million-plus on media for the first 10 months of 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Diet Coke will be leveraging events as well, sponsoring the Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection fashion show during Fashion Week 2008. From mid-February through April, Diet Coke will tour 10 cities with the Heart Truth Road Show. The exhibit will show six red dresses previously worn by celebrities and offer free health screenings.

“Our research with consumers has told us that women today are increasingly mindful of making choices that positively impact their lives,” said Katie Bayne, CMO of Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta, in a statement. “Through this partnership, Diet Coke can help raise awareness about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women, while showing women how to incorporate heart health into their lives.”