Coke Zero’s latest TV commercial continues touting the taste aspect of a full-calorie Coca-Cola with zero calories. Released during the 2012 BET Awards, it may have went over the top in proving its point. Normally that would be true, but given the audience and the spokesperson featured Ken Jeong (from Hangover, TV’s Community, and other movies) it appears to be just right.
Tagging Ken Jeong to champion Coke Zero seems like a perfect match. Jeong is easily recognized among the BET Awards viewers (demographic target are teens & young adults) and is over the top himself when it comes to proving a point. So the first step of a successful ad campaign is there – the audience is paying attention and not tuning out (provided that they haven’t left their couches or changed the channel already).
The main message of reinforcing true Coca-Cola taste and zero calories resonates well among the viewers that want to have it all, but fails to inspire any call to action. Beyond comedic entertainment and grabbing attention, the messaging may fall on deaf ears. It’s important to remember that the targeted demographic are teens – an age segment where calories are not a main concern. If you were a teen, calorie content may be one of the last things on your mind. Teens want to have it all and given that taste and brand matters, but why go for a lesser-known brand like Coke Zero when you can have Coca-Cola instead? Brand trumps taste in this scenario. Even if the target consumer viewing the commercial understands the messaging, they may not be inspired to go out and purchase Coke Zero. The message communication simply does not apply to them.
Would Coke Zero be better off engaging in the zero-calorie Cola Wars with Pepsi Max? Certainly not, because they are still the leading brand in this beverage segment and should not play down to their competition.
Does the commercial need to be to tuned? Coke Zero could adjust their focus on the next older age demographic: young adults (20-30 year olds). Consumers in this age range are at the time where they are faced with sacrificing taste for lower calories due to slower metabolism and stronger health focus. However, doing so would alienate a profitable demographic and tying the beverage in with the beginning of their purchase life cycle. The most probable case would be adjusting the positioning toward teens and young adults, where brand appeal is touted in addition to the zero calorie component.
Does this commercial make you want to buy a Coke Zero, and why?