Coke to Promote Bottle's Centennial With Global Campaign

Effort Will Show Continued 'Improving Quality' of Ads, CEO Says

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Coca-Cola will mark the 100th year of its iconic bottle with a global ad campaign in more than 100 countries, executives said Friday.

"These ads actually have tested very well and demonstrate our commitment of improving the quality of our ads," Coca-Cola Co. CEO Muhtar Kent said during a presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Florida.

The campaign is expected to begin next week. Agencies working on the effort include Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and Ogilvy, Paris. Mr. Kent shared a couple of the bottle ads on Friday, including the one above, called "Balloons." Other marketing assets shown during the presentation included the phrase "100 years of phsst, fizzzz, clink clink, glug, glug … ahhh."

The so-called "contour" bottle was designed "so that consumers would know it even if they felt it in the dark, and it took on a life of its own ever since," according to an entry posted last year on the marketer's corporate blog.

The campaign comes as the company embarks on a cost-cutting program targeting $3 billion in annualized savings by 2019. Plans include pouring some of the savings into brand-building.

Executives said late last year that the company would add $250 million to $350 million in global media investment in 2015. "When we fully fund our brands with high quality marketing, we see results," Chief Financial Officer Kathy Waller said during Friday's presentation.

But at the same time, Coca Cola Co. is seeking $600 million savings in marketing, coming from a 2013 spending base of $5 billion to $6 billion. "Those targeted savings will primarily come from changes in our procurement standards and a focus on creating efficient and scalable global campaigns," Ms. Waller said Friday. The bottle campaign would seem to be an example of that strategy.

Other efforts to promote the Coke bottle anniversary include an exhibit opening later this month at the High Museum of Art in Coke's hometown of Atlanta. The exhibit, called "The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100," will include "more than 100 objects, including more than 15 works of art by Andy Warhol and more than 40 photographs inspired by or featuring the bottle," according to the company.

The bottle was originally designed by the Root Glass Company in Terre-Haute, Ind. It "offered a distinct package for an already ubiquitous product launched in 1886," according to Coke. The design was created as a result of a competition that "challenged bottle manufacturers to develop a container recognizable even if broken on the ground or touched in the dark."

The company called for the bottle to be colored "Georgia Green," as a tribute to the brand's home state. Over the years it has been called the "hobbleskirt bottle," after a fashion trend in the 1920s, and the "Mae West," a reference to the actress's famous curves, according to Coke.

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