Putting a hot leading man in ads is nothing new for Coke. See the classic Diet Coke “break” ad from the 1990s featuring a shirtless construction worker, and another spot from 2013 starring a gardener.
But as it begins the next phase of its “Taste the Feeling” campaign, Coke has updated its approach for contemporary times. The new spot spotlights a brother and sister seeking to win affection from a pool boy, only to be outdueled by their mother. The ad, by Santo, is part of a new wave of global spots released this week by the cola giant as it begins year two of “Taste the Feeling,” which has made a concerted effort to put the Coke product at the center of all ads.
With the pool boy ad, “we wanted to position an ice-cold Coca-Cola as the ultimate object of desire, but also tell an emotional, human story – pretty much following the spirit of the campaign to integrate product benefits with emotional brand values,” Rodolfo Echeverria, the marketer’s VP-global creative, stated in an email interview.
Asked about the connection to previous hunky Coke ads he said: “This story has more layers, including a ‘wink’ that touches on our point of view regarding diversity and inclusion. We are managing our culturally relevant messages organically within our campaign spots not as the main subject of the story but as subtext.”
Coca-Cola debuted the “Taste the Feeling” campaign in January 2016 as part of larger move to a “one-brand” strategy in which multiple Coke varieties are plugged within the same ad.
Asked what lessons the brand has learned in the past year, Mr. Echeverria stated: “Once the campaign was tested and later aired in every country around the world, we learned that the key to our success was to wisely combine universal insights with a certain degree of local tweaking. These universal insights around personal relationships and human truths ensured that consumers around the world identified with the overall story, while the selective adjustments that some countries did on the casting, music and scene selection, guarantees the comprehension and relevance of the film to the local cultures.”
Coke has relied on multiple agencies for the campaign, rather than using an agency of record. The new wave of ads is no different.