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The Coke Side Of Life

Consistency and creativity are the two magic ingredients to any successful marketing message or tag-line. They go hand-in-hand. Think Nike’s “Just Do It” or BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine”. I’ve long argued that one of Coke’s problems is that it hasn’t maintained any diligence in its taglines – or at least to the same degree that they have in packaging.

The WSJ captures this today in reporting on Coke’s new Ads. The inconsistency looks like this:

Mk-Ag034 Cokead 20060329210922

At what point do they get consistent? And does it matter when you’ve got that much money to sway opinion? I’d love to hear your thoughts. AdAdge had this to say:

The new work “understands that Coke trade dress — the red color, the ribbon, the contour glass, the logos — are magical icons with immeasurable power,” wrote Advertising Age’s Bob Garfield. “It understands that the fizzing, bubbling sound of a soft-drink pour is one of the most fetching, evocative and appetizing sounds on earth.

So, I thought I’d take a quick look at how Coke is living the ”Coke Side Of Life“. Their site is pretty much a conventional corporate site and if I want to learn more it directs me to a press kit. Yawn. No wonder kids are switching to Pepsi. In fact, something called ”Make Every Drop Count“ figures more prominently. My Coke is even more confusing and certainly doesn’t directly help bring this to life – take a look at the wallpapers. Nothing there.

Change is confusing enough. Poorly executed change is devastating. And here I was enjoying my Black Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke…

If your going to create a new tagline – which does amount to a value proposition – you’d better make sure your communities and customers can experience and live it. And for it to work, it has to be able to live freely across all your mediums, unencumbered by other slogans, taglines, ideas… Just look at Nike.

Tom Pirko, of consulting firm Bevmark said it all the the WSJ piece: ”Marketing magic cannot be re-created. It has to be created with an original thought that is breakthrough.“

As a complete aside, it’s this kind of reporting that causes me to keep my print subscription. I totally missed this story online. But in the print edition, on the front page of the second section, it screamed at me. That’s why the FT and WSJ thump onto my driveway each morning, and are accompanied by the NYTimes on weekends…

3 Responses

  1. By Ian Armstrong on November 6th, 2006 at 12:07 am

    Honestly, consistant or not the idea has legs. While “the coke side of life” has been criticized as everything from inconsistant to a drug reference, it’s got legs nonetheless. The “Coke side of life” is different to every generation and the slogan lets the brand engage generations independantly. For example, Coke made few friends with their deeply Gen-X ads rejeting and mocking the American homecoming tradition in the 90s. Looking at this example (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6367623765035244684&q=coca+cola+commercial&hl=en) Coke manages to target the boomer generation, through the silent genearation, by showing the archetype/stereotype of people who didn’t adventure as much.

    Whether or not you like the ad, one has to admit that Coke is finally deep into the game of generational advertising. How well they play it remains to be seen but at least they are in the game. That’s more than most companies are doing.

  2. By hubeeb marwan on November 29th, 2006 at 8:20 am

    Coke is the best drink i am having one right now and it never tasted so goood

    that should be the new slogan

    IT NEVER TASTED SO GOOD!!!!

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