January 27, 2016

Empty Calories And Empty Strategies

Coke introduced a new campaign last week. Well, new for them, but not new for us.

We've seen it a thousand times -- music beds and beautiful young people of all colors jumping around.

The funny thing is, if you read what the marketing guy had to say (and can fight your way through all the jargon and cliches) he got the strategy part right. He made two main points:
1. They are going to a "one-brand" strategy.

2. Coke (and, by the way, so many other brands) have gotten way too philosophical and brand-y, and have forgotten about the product.
So far, so good.

Now here comes the bad part. The public never sees the strategy document. All they see are the spots. If the spots suck, the whole thing sucks. And, sadly, the spots pretty much suck.

Yes, they're beautifully and expensively produced. The sound design for the opening scene alone probably cost more than most spots. But the campaign is empty. You could stick the old tag line "Open Happiness" over any of the final scenes and not know that Coke had done anything but add more product shots to old footage. In fact, you could put the Pepsi logo at the end and feel just fine about it.

By the way, the new tagline is Taste The Feeling. Or Feel The Taste, or something. It's a least-objectionable-tagline . It will be forgotten as quickly as these spots will.

And speaking of the spots, they are emotionalistic without being emotional.

When you have a campaign that is kicked off with a spot named "Anthem" you can be pretty sure you're in deep shit. It means you have a song masquerading as an idea. It's a "made-for-the-bottler-meeting" movie.

Coke is probably the world's most popular brand. But all the health/cultural trends are against them. When you're in a tough spot, sometimes there is an irresistible urge to punt.


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