New Diet Coke Ads, From Lowe, Attempt to Reposition Brand

By Jennifer Comiteau and Karen Benezra

NEW YORK–Coca-Cola USA and Lowe & Partners/SMS are readying a new campaign for Diet Coke that is expected to break May 26. The new ads are intended to move the brand away from its ‘Just for the Taste of It’ positioning toward one that is based on the premise that the product helps ‘you look and feel your best,’ sources said.

Three new spots also abandon the jingle introduced by Coca-Cola in its last campaign that broke in January 1996. The last time Coke departed from ‘Just for the Taste of It’ was in 1994, when the company ran a short-lived campaign featuring the line ‘This Is Refreshment.’ Executives at the New York agency declined comment. A Coke representative also would not comment.

The effort is intended to reach what Coke calls three ‘attitudinal groups’: fit and confidents, reluctant dieters and aggressive dieters. Coke believes that its new positioning will re-energize the static diet soft drink category by not only driving greater usage among Diet Coke drinkers, but by converting some full-calorie loyalists as well. Diet Coke was supported by $72 million in ad spending in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Diet Coke ranks third in the $54 billion U.S. soft drink market with an 8.7 percent share, but has been declining along with the rest of the category. Diet Pepsi dropped from the No. 4 spot to seventh place with a 5.7 percent share. Overall, diet beverages have slipped to a 23.7 percent share in 1996 from 26 percent two years ago, per Beverage Digest.

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