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(July 13, 2001) ROME -- Coca-Coca, whose advertising is best known for schmaltzy images of Americana, has nude youth frolicking at the beach in its latest TV campaign airing in Italy. The Italian brand managers have apparently taking to heart the dictate of Chairman/CEO Douglas Daft to "think local, act local."

But this being Coca-Cola, the party takes place at midnight, with only car headlights illuminating the scenes of skinny dipping. And in the close-up shots, most of the young women have their arms strategically placed to cover their breasts. Bare buttocks can be seen, but no genitals.

The Italy-only spot for Coca-Cola uses an off-screen narrative voice and images of young people having fun to connect the soft drink icon with summer fun.

In the spot called "Night Swim," created by the Milan offices of Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, most of the characters run nude into the lake, which is lit only by the headlights of their cars.

One young male remains on shore, though, in silhouette, dancing in front of the car lights. The female narrator reads in a dramatic voice, "It's the first time that I've done it, the midnight swim. It's not a problem for me, but there is always something that is a problem for you. Heh, heh -- it's so true, sooner or later in life problems undress themselves" -- a play on words referring also to the nude swimmers.

The ad features the English-language tagline for the Coca-Cola campaign, "Life tastes Good," plus the company's Italian Web page address:

The spot will air on all of Italy's national TV networks -- the state-run RAI networks, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset networks and the new La 7 network -- plus some regional TV channels and in cinemas. -- Eric J. Lyman

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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