NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Coke Zero, the most successful launch in Coca-Cola Co.'s history, is slated to make its first Super Bowl appearance.
The brand has snagged one of three spots planned for the big game, according to executives. The other two spots feature the flagship Coke brand. In a happy coincidence, the 30-second Coke Zero spot will feature a key player in the Pittsburgh Steelers-Arizona Cardinals matchup. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu -- leader of the team's vaunted defense -- will have a role in the spot, brand executives confirmed.
Coca-Cola executives declined to provide more details. Crispin Porter & Bogusky is the brand's agency of record.
Coke Zero launched in 2005 and has become an integral part of the company's portfolio, so it's fitting that it would be chosen for a starring role in the Super Bowl.
"Coke Zero has been one of our most successful innovations," said Joe Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer at Coca-Cola. "We're now a 500 million-case brand with Coke Zero in over 100 markets."
Two 'Open happiness' spots
Executives previewed the other two spots, which are in the final editing stages, as part of the company's introduction of the new "Open happiness" campaign. Wieden & Kennedy is behind that push.
In the 30-second spot "Avatar," people take on the look of their avatars as they move through life engrossed in their digital worlds. But, when a man and an avatar both absentmindedly reach for the same bottle of Coke, the avatar morphs into a woman, leaving her virtual world. Ultimately, the pair connect over a Coke. The soundtrack for the spot features a cover of Elvis Presley's 1970 hit "Stranger in the Crowd," by Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo.
The second spot, "Heist," features music from "Peter and the Wolf," conducted by Robert Miller and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In the 60-second spot, a man dozes off in a park only to have insects scheme to make off with his Coke.
Distinct creative feel
Both spots have a distinct creative feel and use animation. Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola North America, said using various creative styles and animation effects was a key part of the overall "Open happiness" push.
"A lot of times under economic conditions like this, you have to put everything against the same universal target all at once. [But] we've really been hearing from our consumers that they want to see new faces of this leadership brand they love," she said. "One of the best ways to do that was to latch onto the tremendous creativity that is cropping up everywhere. I don't think there's anybody over 35 who worked on any of the work going out against youth. In our creative shops, we're screening for the youngest, most innovative talent out there."