Is Coca-Cola Zero as Good as Coke?

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | November 06, 2014
The brand's maiden campaign is a long format film, featuring brand ambassador, Farhan Akhtar, and produced exclusively for the digital platforms.

Men usually associate diet cola drinks as a woman's product. Harvard Business School senior lecturer Jill J Avery, in a study, found that it is a big struggle to get men to drink diet sodas and, as a solution, black cans and the avoidance of the word "diet" help.

Coca-Cola Zero Activation

To get more men to drink a low-calorie variation of Coca-Cola, the company, in September 2014, expanded its product portfolio in India with the launch of sugar-free soft drink Coca-Cola Zero. During the launch, it was sold exclusively on for two weeks. The product got 1,700 online bookings in four hours on launch day.

Coca-Cola Zero Facebook Page

Debabrata Mukherjee

Since its launch in India, the beverage has managed to stir up excitement across the country. And now, Coca-Cola India is launching the maiden campaign for Coca-Cola Zero in India, featuring Farhan Akthar in a long-format film produced exclusively for digital platforms.

The campaign has been conceptualised by Coca-Cola's in-house agency and produced by ESP Films. The film is a video representation of an activation done in a multiplex where Coca-Cola wanted to tell its consumers that Coca-Cola Zero has the same great taste. So the company planned this small surprise for some consumers in a multiplex in Mumbai.

The target audience for the brand is the young global Indian on the go with technology at their fingertips. Hence, the strategy has been to build a communication most accessible to this demographic yet delivering the core brand proposition of 'Great Coke taste Zero Sugar'.

Speaking on the idea of the campaign, Debabrata Mukherjee, vice president, marketing and commercial, Coca-Cola India, says, "One has to actually taste it to believe it and this is what we are communicating through the latest brand campaign. We decided on producing and premiering a special long format campaign on YouTube as that is the platform we see our core consumer connected with."

Published on October 27 2014, the film has so far received more than 51,000 views on YouTube. Besides the campaign is also being promoted on the brand's Facebook and Twitter pages. Says Vineet Gupta, producer, ESP Films, "We wanted a campaign that retains the brand's international aura and gives the Indian audience a campaign of global standards. Having Farhan spearhead the campaign elevated the entire film and I hope the consumers enjoy the film as much as we liked making it." Adds Mukherjee, "Farhan represents the new global Indian, a well-travelled, yet rooted individual who is confident of his choices. These attributes deem him a perfect fit for our brand."

Coca-Cola Zero adds to the hydration and refreshment choices available to the consumers in India at a promotional price of Rs 100 for four cans. Coca-Cola Zero will be available in 300ml slim cans, 400ml and 600ml PET bottles at the same price points as a regular Coca-Cola.

With this launch, India joins the US, Mexico, China, Brazil and Japan as the six biggest markets for the company. Coca-Cola Zero is one of the $17 billion brands of The Coca-Cola Company in revenue terms and is one of the fastest to this milestone. It was first launched in 2005 and is now available in 149 countries.

Tasty Twist?

Fabian Cowan

Will the campaign be effective enough in its aim to convince users to make the switch from Coke to Coke Zero? Fabian Cowan, executive vice president, BrandScope India, believes that the switch of brands is more product-driven. "However, this activation will help in creating a certain amount of buzz on social media and hence achieve brand scores and not necessarily more consumers," he states.

Cowan, however, thinks that the execution of the campaign was flawless until the protagonist came onto the screen, post which a dialogue ensued with the audience. "It would seem more real if his eye contact was at audience level and not straight ahead. Given that slight blip, I thought it was nicely done - the connect, apparent and the excitement visible. I felt that the involvement of the consumer - where they opened the wrapper around the can, along with the protagonist - made it more impactful and meaningful," he adds.

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