Thursday, August 15

Diet Coke and Aspartame

This isn't the first time that the Coca-Cola brand has created buzz about its advertising or its products.  Splashy celebrity campaigns    (this year's Taylor Swift) and surprisingly product introductions (the classic "New Coke") have long put the brand in the headlines.

But today it's a subtle little print ad that is making not only industry folks but also journalists and consumers debating the motivation behind it.  My own social media network lit up yesterday when the story of the new ad broke.

While it only appeared regionally yesterday, this print ad is evidently the beginning of a more complete campaign touting the safety and legitimacy of artificial sweeteners.   Aspartame to be exact.

"Quality products you can always feel good about."

The print ad clearly has an objective.  Part emotion and part science, and long on copy and long on explanation ... it attempts to defend and educate:  aspartame is deemed to be safe.

While I can't comment on aspartame itself, I do see this clearly as an effort by the brand to get out in front of the story on artificial sweeteners which have been making negative headlines for years now.  As a big part of the brand's portfolio, it's only natural that they would try to present the other side of the story to reassure people of the products' safety ... with proof that there has been testing completed to ensure quality.  Classic issues management from a brand that leads a category.  Agree or not, this is also classic industry leadership, something we have long seen from this brand.

While also not the typical ad from Coke, then again this is no typical brand.  It has exploded its portfolio to include many non-caffeine and low calorie options.  Notice how it presents that as a bit of a tagline along side its logo?  Clearly that is part of the story as well.

Agree or not, I see this as a brand leadership move.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

1 comment:

  1. I've since seen a new television spot from the brand as well, touting drink options including many that are zero calorie. Must be part of an entire beverage leadership initiative. Jim.