New Coca-Cola Commercial Brings Many Beverages Together in TV-Ad First
The Coca-Cola Company wants to kick off 2024 with a family affair.
A new campaign from the beverage giant that starts bubbling Tuesday emphasizes its broad portfolio of drinks, not just a single product such as Fanta, Diet Coke or Dasani as has been the company’s typical marketing strategy over the years. The TV commercial, which will appear in both 30- and 90-second versions, is believed to be the first in which Coca-Cola has put a spotlight on its wider product line, rather than on a single drink.
Executives at the iconic Atlanta marketer have known for years that the company makes beverages that satisfy many niches, ranging from breakfast eaters to athletes to, yes, those looking to satisfy a craving for something sweet. Now they hope to remind consumers that the company can fit into many kinds of drinking occasions. particularly as patrons show increasing interest in slaking their thirst with something other than the company’s flagship sodas. Touting multiple beverages in a single commercial, rather than giving time solely to Sprite or VitaminWater, for example, can help Coca-Cola strike a connection that may result in more purchases of its goods, says Shakir Moin, Coca-Cola’s Chief of Marketing for North America operations, during an interview. “With a family of brands, we are able to create a much bigger and better impact,” he says.
The effort represents a significant shake up for a company that once told consumers that “Coke Is It.”
In the new commercial, many products try to shine. The ad, directed by Christopher Storer, creator of the FX series “The Bear,” depicts a very large family making use of different Coca-Cola products as they welcome one woman’s new significant other to the fold. Sprite helps one man cool his mouth after popping a very hot hors d’oeuvre into it. A mother passes out Honest Kids organic juices. And a ice cold glass of Coke takes a brief spill. The ad tells viewers that Coca-Cola helps sponsors many of the life moments that matter most. The commercial is expected to show up in ESPN programming — not live sports – and entertainment shows on cable networks.
In a different era, every commercial told a single story about a specific product or gizmo. In 2024, however, consumers have grown more inured to traditional ads, and marketers may feel the need to connect their pitch to something bigger, whether it be a particular cause or broader purchase.
Others have tested a so-called “portfolio” approach in recent years. Rival PepsiCo in 2018 took to the Super Bowl to run a commercial touting both a spicy new iteration of Doritos and a new lemon-lime variant of Mountain Dew. One year later Frito-Lay, the PepsiCo snacks division, launched a holiday spot starring Anna Kendrick that played up a broad array of its products rather than a single chip or pretzel. Procter & Gamble in 2020 ran a series of Super Bowl ads that incorporated not only its Tide detergent, but also other products it owns, including Old Spice and Mr. Clean. Anheuser-Busch InBev has in past years used the Super Bowl to promote not just Budweiser and Bud Light, but everything from Michelob Ultra to Shock Top
Sometimes, it takes an army to make inroads with consumers.
When the assignment first came up, it sounded difficult to put into practice, says Alex Ames, director of content and creative excellence at Coca-Cola. How would the company and its ad agencies create a scenario in which appearances by many different beveages seemed organic? Thinking about a family helped ideas take shape. Coca-Cola has also devised thousands of customized pieces, Ames says, that can be utilized in social and digital outreach.
Coca-Cola has indeed tried to tout its broader beverage holdings. In 2003, the company ran a print ad that appeared in USA Today and The New York Times, among other publications, that called attention to everything from Sprite ReMix and Coke Classic to Minute Maid lemonade and Odwalla carrot juice. The pitch was launched partly to remind advocates of nutrition that the company made more than fizzy, sugary drinks. In 2013, Coca-Cola Co. Launched a campaign in Asia that pushed Coke. Sprite and Fanta as three beverages that paired well with meals. Neither ad used what Shakir calls an approach that looks first at how consumers behave, rather than what the company is most interested in selling.
The new campaign is expected to last six to eight weeks, says Ames, but there is some hope that Coca Cola may be able to bring its beverages together again in the future.