You’re On. Diet Coke.

Courtesy of businessweek.com
Courtesy of businessweek.com

Diet Coke recently released a new marketing campaign with an updated tagline.  The “Stay Extraordinary” is now replaced with “You’re On”.  The problem is that across print and digital communication, the tagline comes off as “You’re On Coke”.  As such, the company is receiving numerous reports of negativity claiming the soda manufacturer supports the use of illegal substances.  A search across the web shows many people making fun of the new campaign (here’s one from the Gothamist and one from The Huffington Post).  While it has gotten a lot of people talking about Diet Coke with some form of negative emotion, is it really that bad?

A new marketing campaign of some type was necessitated by the brand and segment’s recent struggles.  The “Stay Extraordinary” campaign tagline has been in use since 2010 and was due for a refresh.  Diet Coke’s sales and volume have declined at a faster rate than the soda category itself over the past two years.  And last year, aspartame became front and center as a health-debilitating ingredient.  To that extent, Diet Coke had to issue a specific campaign around the safety of aspartame (see story here).  All these factors indicated that something needed to be done to stem the diet soft drink’s mounting losses.

The new campaign does have some positives.  It has helped increase awareness and spur discussion about the soft drink.  Part of the adage that “no publicity is bad publicity” is a consequence of this marketing campaign.  Also, like the The Huffington Post article describes (via The New York Times), the original version of soft drink did include cocaine so it’s not entirely false.  It should be noted that the beverage has not contained the narcotic for over a decade.  And in a cheeky sort of way, people are no longer concerned about the diet product’s aspartame issue.  They are more focused on the campaign itself.

Couresty of brandmagazine.com
Couresty of brandmagazine.com

Beyond the attention this campaign has generated, will it actually provide a sales uptick for Diet Coke?  It’s hard to say but the campaign’s intention has been described in a clarification note by Coca-Cola.

“This advertising is one part of the new campaign for Diet Coke, which is called ‘You’re On.’ It celebrates ambitious young achievers from all walks of life and reminds them that Diet Coke is there to support them in the moments when they are at their best. Every single day, young people around the world experience ‘You’re On’ moments big and small. It could be a job interview or a national TV interview, a first date or a final exam, a presentation to your boss or a performance in front of thousands. The Diet Coke logo is the centerpiece of the ad campaign. Diet Coke in no way endorses or supports the use of any illegal substance.”

If consumers reward themselves (or prepare for big moments in life) with Diet Coke, then the campaign will be deemed successful.  In that vein, you can expect Diet Coke to maintain their award show sponsorships where actors and musicians will have opportunities to share their success with the refreshment.  Given that the core demographic remains 20-29 year old individuals, Diet Coke certainly persists as an rewarding moment for thirsty consumers.

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Happy Easter!

Spending some time away with the family so no post this week.  You may still find me on twitter (@BevWire).

 

See you next week!

Rockstar Quietly Introduced Energy Waters

The three flavors of Rockstar Energy's new Energy Waters: Citrus, Orange Tangerine, Blueberry Pomegranate Acai.
The three flavors of Rockstar Energy’s new Energy Waters: Citrus, Orange Tangerine, Blueberry Pomegranate Acai.

Rockstar Energy showcased their Rockstar Energy Water over 18 months ago at the 2012 NACS Show, but never divulged the launch date.  The energy drink manufacturer’s enhanced water offerings were quietly introduced in September 2013, and has recently launched into Canada.  Via Rockstar Energy Canada’s Facebook page – the three flavors of Citrus, Orange Tangerine, and Blueberry Pomegranate Acai – launched February 24.

Beyond their energy drink’s portfolio breadth, Rockstar has been traditionally known for their innovative and attention-grabbing packaging.  Their energy drinks come in aluminum cans that have matte finishes (Rockstar Recovery series) and slim cans with straws (Rockstar Pink).  However, their foray into enhanced waters have stayed with safer packaging resembling other products that define the segment landscape.  Even as packaging can help demonstrate a product’s unique features, Rockstar has chosen to play it safe since they do not have a strong brand name.  Their packaging resembles that the glaceau’s vitaminwater packaging, the clear market leader.  Perhaps Rockstar is looking to enter this segment as a follower and build up credibility as a key competitor in this segment before experimenting with its packaging.

The launch of Rockstar Energy Water is also an indication of the energy drink manufacturer’s goals to diversify beyond energy drinks.  Similar to Starbucks’ aim to expand outside coffee and Monster Energy’s expansion into teas, Rockstar is leveraging their expertise in energy drinks to introduce other caffeinated beverage products.  These new products are targeted toward a different consumer, and will be placed in other beverage sections within convenience and grocery stores.  With more touch points in the grocery aisles, Rockstar now has more opportunities to connect with the shopper: both the energy drink shopper and the enhanced water shopper.

As Rockstar targets a new consumer demographic, their marketing message and vehicles should also change.  Energy drink companies have forged strong ties with extreme sports athletes since their products fit that particular demographic and lifestyle.  Their new beverages may need to start communicating on other media channels (ie TV, print, digital) and communicating differently to identify more closely with this demographic’s behaviors and needs.  While some analysts expect Rockstar Energy Waters to go after the same “energy” consumer, there are bound to be new interest.  At the same time, communicating similar messages within identical media platforms dilutes the overall product awareness.

Rockstar Energy Water Shelf

Even as Rockstar Energy Drink continues to increase its availability, two key challenges they must address are awareness and consideration. Their February launch showed that they have only communicated to the public through sporting events and social media.  How will they improve their awareness?  And with their competition firmly entrenched in shopper’s minds when they are looking to buy enhanced waters, what will Rockstar Energy Water do to have the shopper consider trying Rockstar Energy Water?

Seeing that expansion is a key growth opportunity, Rockstar’s broader portfolio is a good first start.  If they continue supporting these new drinks and work to build both awareness and consideration, Rockstar can become a strong player across both the energy drink and enhanced waters segments.

Spiderman Lives Young with evian

evian's partnership with The Amazing Spiderman in their latest installment for the Live Young campaign.  Courtesy of adweek.com.
evian’s partnership with The Amazing Spiderman in their latest installment for the Live Young campaign. Courtesy of adweek.com.

It seems that evian’s focus is to build its brand through partnerships, one way or another.  Earlier this year BevWire detailed that evian and Coke were separating, and the premium water company will instead be leveraging the distribution network of The Danone Group and Red Bull (article here).  Aside from distribution partnerships, evian has recently collaborated with The Amazing Spiderman movie series to release another installment of its Live Young videos.  It’s certainly valuable to leverage on the film’s equity, as long as it’s tied-in with the beverage brand’s objectives.  So does this collaborative commercial help evian deliver against those objectives?

AdWeek may not think so.  AdWeek’s article appears to be deadpanning the premium water brand’s link with Spiderman.  The online publication communicates that there is no explanation of how evian and Spiderman are linked, and the water brand itself is not visible except for the Live Young tagline.  The baby Spiderman’s face is also not visible like previous iterations where the baby’s face is shown (article link here).

BevWire sees this commercial differently, and thinks that evian’s key objectives have been achieved.  If the goals are identical with evian’s 2011 objectives outlined by Barak Orenstein, evian’s Senior Brand Manager at the time, then this advertisement should be a continued translation on the brand’s success.  From the Marketing Magazine, Orenstein describes the 2011 campaign objective’s is “to drive top-of-mind awareness and consumption of Evian” (article link here).

The video is consistent across key evian assets from prior videos, which helps to reinforce the top-of-mind awareness.  Throughout the commercial, the evian themes of dancing, music, and mirror reflections of the main characters are apparent.  Unlike previous videos where the baby’s face is shown to forge a stronger connection with the real-life character, a baby-faced Spiderman is not necessary given Spiderman’s already high public recognition.  The miniature Spiderman suit is already enough to deliver this connection and help with raising the water brand’s profile.  Leveraging on the film’s impending release and their other commercials to build the movie’s internet, evian certainly increases its top-of-mind awareness with these coinciding Spiderman Live Young commercials.

While awareness is a key brand-building level, the core objective that any business cares about are sales and consumption.  Depending on the partnership structure, evian may be executing consumer promotions to drive their premium water sales within the grocery shopping channels.  Beyond the consumption objective, evian may also have an opportunity to increase their total product availability.  This commercial will likely play in movie theaters to remind movie goers to purchase evian water at the concession stands.  If evian is not readily available within the theater concession stands, this partnership will give them leverage to gain space for at least the movie’s duration on the silver screen.

Certainly a great partnership between a consumer product and an entertainment franchise.  Should this collaborative venture prove successful, will evian be partnering with other movie releases?