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COKE TO ROLL OUT YET ANOTHER DIET SOFT DRINK

Crispin Porter Said to Have Coca-Cola Zero Launch Assignment

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Coca-Cola North America today said it would launch Coca-Cola Zero, its latest no-calorie cola for the U.S.
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The announcement ends speculation on the marketer’s plans for yet another diet soft drink, but it generated new questions regarding the marketer’s advertising agency roster.

Crispin Porter
Although the Atlanta-based beverage giant was mum on which ad agency would produce the “extensive marketing campaign” being planned to support the June launch of Coca-Cola Zero, at least four executives close to Coca-Cola said Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami, has the assignment. The MDC Partners-backed agency had earlier been linked with the marketer’s so-called iconic brand advertising, despite denials by Coke that it met with the agency.

Crispin executives didn't return calls by press time.

Coke said the campaign would include TV, radio, print, out-of-home and online advertising and sampling programs. To tease consumers to try the artificially-sweetened cola, Coke is offering a sample six-pack on eBay in early April, with proceeds from the online auction going to charity.

Fourth diet cola
Reportedly based on the original formula for Coca-Cola Classic, the cola, sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium, is the fourth waistline-friendly brand to be launched in the past year. Coca-Cola Zero "has the real taste of Coca-Cola," a company spokesman said, adding that the brand will have its own unique flavor and won’t taste like Diet Coke, nor a new Splenda-sweetened version of the brand. Coke also brought out a version of Diet Coke flavored with lime.

Coca-Cola earlier announced it would introduce a Splenda-sweetened version of Diet Coke, and last year it launched C2, a "mid-calorie" brand that has been deemed a flop by most retailers and analysts.

Male-skewing
The Coke spokesman said the new brand would be aimed at young adults and would skew slightly more male. Coca-Cola and its chief rival, Pespi-Cola North America, have acknowledged that more men are turning to reduced-calorie and zero-calorie beverages to control their weight.

"Coca-Cola Zero is exactly what young adults told us they wanted -– real Coca-Cola taste, zero calories and a new brand they can call their own,” said Dan Dillon, vice president of Coca-Cola North America's diet portfolio. “Young people today do not want to compromise on flavor or calories, and we think Coca-Cola Zero’s taste and personality will appeal to them.”

As to whether consumers will confuse the new drink with Coke's main diet brand, the marketer insisted that Coca-Cola Zero "will have no impact" on Diet Coke support, claiming that the target audiences are different

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