COKE SCRIPTS NEW ADS WITH MOVIE STRATEGY:FRUITOPIA WILL GET THEATER AD IN APRIL, NFL DEAL IN WORKS

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Coca-Cola Co. is making the big screen a big part of its marketing plans, and in April launches its new campaign for the Fruitopia brand with a 60-second cinema spot.

The soft-drink giant's aggressive use of the medium follows a co-sponsored Valentine's Day commercial that aired on 7,000 U.S. movie screens last month.

Coca-Cola also has a theater tie-in ad in the works for fall with the National Football League's NFL Films as production partner.

TARGETING YOUTH

"We're focusing on young people and where they enjoy themselves," said Steve Koonin, VP-presence marketing, Coca-Cola. "The No. 1 venue for young people is movies."

For Fruitopia, advertising from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, will sport a new tagline and focus more on fruit flavors rather than on the brand's funky-hip image. One of three new spots initially will run only in theaters, though after a month it will be added to the TV rotation.

The Fruitopia spot will be one of the rare occasions when Coca-Cola uses regular TV advertising in theaters.

"Generally, consumers tell us, `Don't show me commercials in that environment,' " Mr. Koonin said.

Most of Coca-Cola's movie marketing will support the Coke Classic brand. The creative currently airing in theaters features a Coke Classic tie-in with Planet Hollywood restaurants.

In most cases, Coca-Cola's agencies are not playing significant roles in these cinema productions, Mr. Koonin said.

TV PLAYS A PART, TOO

Coca-Cola's next movie tie-in actually will air on TV. TNT, its production partner on the Valentine's Day spot, will air a Coca-Cola-sponsored awards show April 13, hosted by Larry King and featuring award winners from this month's theater trade show, ShoWest '96.

In the week leading up to the awards program, TNT will air 50 vignettes mixing convention coverage, interviews and film clips.

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