COCA-COLA CO. THINKS BIG TV FOR WORLD CUP

By Published on .

Most Popular
Coca-Cola Co. is answering Ed Artzt's call to action.

The soft-drink giant this summer will reprise its Big TV programming concept to offer 2 hours of entertainment, news and color commentary from the World Cup games on July 16, the eve of the final World Cup match.

First tested on local cable channels in the Southeast in associa-tion with the Super Bowl, Big TV this time will be distributed nationally via cable's Turner Network Television. If it goes well, Coca-Cola plans to develop programming for other big sports and entertainment events.

Coca-Cola's latest foray into programming is in the spirit of remarks on the need to confront the new-media future made by Mr. Artzt, chairman-CEO of Procter & Gamble Co.

"This is about creating new ways to communicate with our consumers," said Stu Cross, Coca-Cola VP-marketing and director of worldwide sports. Advertising "is changing faster than we can imagine, and the only way to even appear to keep up is by trying new things."

Coca-Cola Big TV's "Backstage From Hollywood at the World Cup" will be produced in association with Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated Television. Turner Broadcasting System will distribute the programming in the U.S. via TNT and will syndicate it worldwide, including live coverage on TNT Latin America.

"The Super Bowl show gave us 7 hours on the air at a very efficient cost. Compare that to the price of a 30-second ad," Mr. Cross said.

Coca-Cola spent less than $900,000 for the Super Bowl Big TV show, thanks in part to ad support from companies including Reebok International and McDonald's Corp.

Turner will handle all ad sales for the World Cup show and will split revenues with Coca-Cola.

Turner will sell five sponsor packages-one has already been taken by Coca-Cola-that include four 30-second spots, billboards, outdoor ads, promotional support and hospitality packages with event tickets.

Creative Artists Agency, Beverly Hills, Calif., is expected to produce the Coca-Cola spots.

Total U.S. ad sales for Big TV are expected to exceed $1 million.

Mark Mariani, exec VP of Turner Broadcasting Sales, predicted the prime-time Big TV special would perform about as well as a typical TNT original program, averaging several ratings points.

Mr. Mariani said that the World Cup effort will lead to a series of other Big TV events, including likely team-ups with NBA and NFL coverage, both of which have ties to Coca-Cola and Turner.

In this article: