Mr. de Quinto was joined in the interview by another exec who
will be key to Coke's new direction -- Rodolfo Echeverria, a
longtime Coke employee who last January was named global VP for
creative, connections and digital. Prior to that promotion, Mr.
Echeverria served as VP-marketing in Latin America. Coke no longer
wants to be about "fixing happiness" with "high-level" ideas, Mr.
Echeverria said. Rather, the new campaign is "very much about
living in the intimacy and simplicity of … moments." He
referenced a classic tagline -- "Have a Coke and a Smile" -- as a
symbol of the brand's new direction.
Watching the waves
Setting an enormous brand like Coke on a new marketing course is a
massive undertaking and comes as the brand battles category
headwinds, most notably declining soda consumption amid growing
health concerns. While Coke remains the top soda brand in the U.S.,
it eked out just 0.1% volume growth in 2014, while Diet Coke volume
fell 6.6%, according to the latest full-year data available from
Beverage Digest. For the third quarter of 2015, the company
reported 1% global growth in the Coca-Cola trademark, including 1%
growth for brand Coke, 8% growth for Coke Zero and an 8% drop for
Last March, soon after Mr. de Quinto had taken the reins, Coke
invited 10 of its roster agencies to pitch ideas for a global
campaign, signaling change was coming. The four shops taking a lead
role on "Taste the Feeling" are: Ogilvy New York, Sra. Rushmore of
Madrid, Santo of Buenos Aires and Mercado-McCann of Argentina.
The initial round of work created by the four shops includes 10
TV ads, as well as digital, print, out-of-home and shopper
marketing. Mercado-McCann created the lead TV spot called "Anthem"
(above) that puts Coke at the center of ordinary moments like a
first kiss and ice-skating with friends. The soundtrack features
the voice of rising pop star Conrad Sewell who belts out lines like
"we can watch the waves, have a Coke and just sit here beside me."
Ads will include a new audio signature that includes sounds like
ice fizzing and a quenching sip.
Roster shop The Cyranos-McCann of Barcelona made one of the 10
TV spots. And Ogilvy created one TV ad that includes a cover of the
Queen and David Bowie song "Under Pressure" that showcases Coke as
a way to release everyday tensions faced by teens. Ogilvy also is
behind a digital activation that allows users to insert
three-second GIFs from a Coke microsite into social media to
express feelings like refreshed, energized and bubbly.
Other Coke roster shops will contribute work as the campaign
evolves, including David, Dentsu, FCB and Wieden & Kennedy, which created "Open
Happiness," according to a Coke spokeswoman.
A 'brand for everybody'
Marketing will play a critical role as Coke strives to emphasize
dollar sales growth over volume growth. Or as executives have put
it, selling "Cokes" instead of "Coke." The financial strategy
involves selling smaller package sizes that might contain less
liquid but are more profitable on a per-unit basis. While the
company acknowledges individual Coke drinkers might drink less, it
is seeking to broaden its total base of consumers.
"Marketing that supports the brand to allow [price increases]
will be the goal," said Ali Dibadj, who covers the company for
Sanford C. Bernstein, in an email interview. "To me, quantifying
the value of branding should be around revenue growth, not just