Coca-Cola's no-brainer still reinforces brand

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MARKETER: Coca-Cola Co.


CRITIQUE: Imagine if the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers report listed General Motors Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., Philip Morris Cos. and SexTracker. One of these is not like the others, but one also has more banner impressions than the other three combined. In 1998, GM spent nearly $3 billion in advertising, slightly more than total online spending for the first three quarters of 1999, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Branding on the Internet is not an easy task. For all those start-up dot-coms that must not only get their names out but explain who they are, a string of 60-second TV spots can't always do it, let alone a tiny banner ad.

But established marketers have a distinct advantage, which is brand recognition. That is why we enjoyed seeing banners for Coca-Cola popping up on A Coke bottle, a golden arch, a Doughboy, a swoosh: These are all symbols that tell the consumer what they need to know without having to explain anything. A big, static, block GM logo would do just as much in a Web banner as anything out there today.

Which is why Coke can get away with a banner that simply animates a bottle emptying as a glass fills. It still gets the Coke name out on the Web, and the ad is basically a no-brainer.

Perhaps it will start a trend for 2000 in which old-school marketers realize they are in the best position to leverage banner space with even the most simple ads-without adding too much to their ad budgets. That's because everybody already knows their names and their logos.

WHO CREATED IT: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Zentropy Partners, New York.

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