Have you seen the latest Coke Zero commercial? If not, click on the link below, also found from Advertising Age’s article detailing Coke Zero’s new advertising agency, Droga5.
Unlike last year’s Powerade commercial, this year’s March Madness commercial by Coca-Cola features Coke Zero. The question is why focus on a soda rather than the sports drink?
Inherently, the message and audience is geared toward a completely different type of beverage consumer. The Powerade commercial was a signal to Gatorade that Powerade realizes that they are the underdogs in the sports drink segment, and they must work harder in order to compete with the sports drink giant. It was targeted toward the athlete. This year’s March Madness commercial broadens the reach by focusing on men, not just athletes in particular.
Coke Zero wants to identify with the spectators, not just the athletes. The message is that even the casual sports fan can enjoy everything and participate in March Madness by drinking Coke Zero and picking the winners. The change in Coke Zero’s focus is understandable, given that CSDs (carbonated soft drinks) are a larger segment than sports drinks and offers greater sales potential. Also, why would you fight from the position of an underdog (Powerade) when you can fight from a position of strength, and build on your leadership (Coke Zero leads zero-calorie CSD market)?
Keeping in line with Coca-Cola’s theme on focusing on the intangibles, there is no mention of calories. Notice how Coca-Cola’s tagline is “Open Happiness” and Diet Coke’s tagline is “Stay Extraordinary”? There is no focus on tangible attributes, and tries to position the beverage as a lifestyle choice. For Coke Zero, men do not want to be reminded that they can “Enjoy Everything” by consuming a beverage without any calories. The less the messaging focuses on calories (and more on sports or happiness), the better it should perform.
All in all, the winning potential is great, and offers them the ability to leverage themselves from a position of strength. Smart move to switch the focal point from athlete to casual fan and spectator.