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Coca-Cola Pumps Up Fanta Ad Support Across 190 Countries

New Campaign Debuts in U.S. on 'American Idol'

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Coca-Cola is throwing its considerable weight behind Fanta with a global campaign running in 190 countries.

The fruit-flavored carbonated soft drink runs in elite circles, as one of just four $10 billion brands in the Coca-Cola portfolio and the third brand to crack 2 billion cases. With an eye toward building the business even further, Fanta is launching the latest iteration of the "Less Serious" campaign globally. Previous "Less Serious" efforts ran regionally in markets including Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Fanta's new spot, 'Chase,' breaks on 'American Idol.'

"We're putting a substantial amount of resources on this around the world," said Joe Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer, during a webcast today that also featured a number of high-level Coca-Cola executives. "We've been very focused on trademark Coke over the last few years, and we want to make sure we're giving the same level of attention to our flavor business, whether that's Sprite or Fanta. That will become an increased focus for the company."

Mr. Tripodi declined to comment on the budget for the campaign. According to Kantar, Fanta spent just $4.1 million in the U.S. last year, down from $7.4 million in 2006. That's significantly less than other similarly sized brands in the Coca-Cola portfolio.

The campaign, which is being touted as the brand's largest and most unified, debuts in the U.S. with a TV spot, "Chase," on "American Idol" tomorrow night. Spots will also run on MTV and BET. Print, out-of-home, in-store and digital elements will also be included. And a new global website replaces myriad regional sites. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, led the effort, working with the agency's Sao Paulo and Paris offices.

Teens and moms are key targets for the brand, leading executives to select a family-friendly animated creative concept. (Coca-Cola has been increasingly focused on teen consumers.) Fanta worked with Psyop, the same animation shop behind Coca-Cola's "Happiness Factory," to create a cast of multicultural animated characters meant to be between the ages of 18 to 20.

Jonathan Mildenhall, VP-global advertising strategy and content, said that in creating the characters the brand was careful not to make them too young. "It's important for us to add the right kind of gravitas and social cool, so [Fanta] appeals to late teenagers," he said. "We want 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds to feel very cool when they pick up a bottle of Fanta."

Already, the brand is particularly popular with multicultural teens, said Caren Pasquale-Seckler, VP-flavor brands portfolio for Coca-Cola North America. Multicultural teens are drinking Fanta two times more than the average teen and, in the U.S., two-thirds of the brand's volume is attributed to multicultural teens.

"[These multicultural characters] identify strongly with the U.S. consumer and, in particular, the teen consumer," Ms. Pasquale-Seckler said. "The face of the nation is changing and the general population is embracing diversity more than they ever have before."

There's latent equity in this brand," Ms. Pasquale-Seckler continued. "We want to take advantage of that, put it on a big stage and do things like launch this campaign on 'American Idol.'"

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