Coke ends 7-week TV ad hiatus for Nascar’s return
Coke is coming back to TV this weekend, ending a seven-week absence that began in the early days of the pandemic.
The soda brand will run an ad on Sunday during Fox’s coverage of Nascar, which is returning to the track after a two-month coronavirus-induced break. The race at Darlington Raceway has been rebranded as the “The Real Heroes 400,” in honor of frontline healthcare workers. Sunday’s race is the first of three races over four days, all of them occurring without fans in attendance.
Coke’s ad, called “For Everyone,” shows various Coke packaging arranged in a way that represents people affected by the pandemic. For instance, one scene mentions “those living together” by showing a six-pack, followed by “for those living apart,” represented by a single Coke in a mostly empty crate. The ad is an English-language remake of a Spanish-language spot from Mercado McCann in Argentina that was released earlier this month in Latin America and Spain. Coke’s in-house creative team worked on the U.S. version.
Coke last ran a TV ad in the U.S. on March 30, according to ad tracker iSpot.tv.
While other brands have rushed ads to TV that play off the pandemic—including plenty of homages to healthcare workers or stay-at-home themes—Coke remained on the sidelines as it paused most paid advertising. The brand increased its philanthropic efforts like other marketers, but was reticent to publicize its giving in paid ads. “You cannot imagine how many people jump when we go with a message like that—they say, ‘Well, you better quiet down and donate the cost of advertising,’ ” Coca-Cola global Chief Marketing Officer Manuel Arroyo told Ad Age in an interview earlier this month. (Coca-Cola Co. had kept running TV spots for its new sparkling water brand, Aha, in April and May.)
But Nascar’s return—which represents a rare live sports ad opportunity—lured brand Coke back to U.S. airwaves. “The return of Nascar, even without spectators and fans, is an important milestone as we navigate the impacts COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on everyday life,” Jaideep Kibe, VP for the Coca-Cola trademark in North America, said in a statement to Ad Age. “We have always been responsive to the mindset, feelings and emotions of our consumers. For the U.S., we believe this is the right way to re-enter the market with meaningful, relevant content.”
Coke also has a deal with Fox to run integrations during live racing that plug a social media campaign called “#WeLoveThisPlace” that encourages people to support their local restaurants.
Other brands seizing on Nascar’s return include Oscar Mayer, which is touting a cookout-inspired paint scheme on the car of Ryan Newman.
The Kraft Heinz-owned brand is also trying to get fans to “recreate their own at-home infield experience by firing up the grill and connecting with fellow race fans and neighbors on their front lawn from a safe distance,” according to a press release. It says it will donate one meal to Feeding America for each usage of “#FrontYardCookout on Twitter.”
Meanwhile, Goodyear will run an ad voiced by Dale Earnhardt Jr. that heralds Nascar’s return by showing historic racing footage. The spot comes from GSD&M.