Coke Polar Bear Ads: A Bit of Sense In An Otherwise Chaotic Scene.

Posted by: David Kiley on December 14, 2005

COKE-POLAR-BEAR.jpg

As Coca-Cola literally lurches from one product and marketing strategy to another hoping to makes sense of its brand portfolio, at least it has the good sense not to ditch what has become a nice holiday icon—the Coke Polar Bear.

Ad Age notes that the latest ad, set to Beach Boys music, was the IAG #1 Best Liked Ad of the month. You can view it here.

My colleague Dean Foust just wrote a good piece summing up Coke’s problems off last week’s New Yoork investors meeting where it laid out some of its new plans. Dean’s appropriate lead: “Quick, what’s Coca-Cola’s current ad slogan? Hmm, had to think for a minute, didn’t you? “Coke is it?” Sorry, that was the jingle used back in the 1980s and early 1990s. “Always?” Apparently not. That was retired in 1999.”

One new ad in a series that will be sloganed ” Welcome To The Coke Side of Life,” which replaces “Real” goes like this: A male teen sitting on a bench next to an attractive girl begins mimicking the sound of a cell-phone ring. While she gives him an odd stare, he pulls a bottle of Coke out of his backpack, pretends to answer it, then hands it to the girl saying, “This is for you.” She smiles approvingly at the witty move.

Coke hasn’t had a coherent ad strategy, in my opinion, since Sergio Zyman left the company. And even some of Sergio’s moves were odd. I recall, for example, when the agency I worked for at the time, Lowe & Partners, did a greeat breakthrough spot: “The construction worker.” This was the guy who took his shirt off at 11:30 every day while ogling female secretaries looked on. The theme was “This is Refreshment.” Sergio scotched the slogan after about ten months to go back to “Just for the Taste of it,” because the former slogan tested better for recall than the new one. Duh. It takes longer than ten months for a new slogan and strategy to bake in.

Looking at Coke in the last year—-as we have seen such pointless line extensions as Coke Zero, Coke Lime, Coke Vanilla. And now we have Coca-Cola Blak (think carbonated coffee), Vault, a citrus-flavored energy drink, Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and Tab Energy. They should call at least one of the products “Tedious,” because that’s what this all is. Coke has blown thse categories by letting Pepsi get into bed with Starbucks for RTD coffee and by not buying Red Bull when the asking price was a lot less than it would be today. This onslaught of product rollouts from Coke is not a strategy so much as it is a marketing version of a full-body heave. I’ve seen more thoughtful consideration in a speed dating session.

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Reader Comments

Joyce Hudson

December 17, 2005 08:53 PM

Just letting you know, that everyone I know loves the polar bear commercials. No one gets up and leaves to do their little things, like getting a drink or snack, when the commercials are on. And as you know, commercials are when people want to do those things. Please keep up the good work. Wish you could try working this type of animation, using animals or mythology during the other holidays. Sincerely, Joyce Hudson

sal Bass

December 19, 2005 11:37 AM

I enjoy COke Zero, best new product this year. Taste exactly like coke without the pounds of sugar

energy drink

April 12, 2006 12:36 PM

I asking myself if the sucralose is the replacement of aspartame.

bill

October 28, 2006 03:20 PM

I enjoy seeing the Polar bear commercials, I've seen coffee mugs with them, Is there anyway I could be able to purchase the polar bear commercial mugs? By any chance is the commercial set for computers like screensavers I'd be interested? don't mean to take up your time, Thank you.

linda

September 3, 2007 04:29 AM

Love those Coke bears-have about 5000 set up in my "used-to-be" living room! Things truely go better with Coke!

earl

November 30, 2007 01:15 PM

i like it

alberti

December 16, 2007 03:14 PM

is no coment

Elizabeth

December 23, 2007 06:50 PM

We love the bears with the penguins - we are in Florida, so to see the snow with such cute animals in it bring nice memories and since we still buy coke in the bottle (can's just don't do it} it is our favorite ad.

Linda

January 4, 2008 11:42 AM

Anything COKE is AWESOME!!!! I'd like to buy the phone in the image above, is it available ? Coke stuff can be found in EVERY room in my house. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, COKE

coke lover

February 28, 2008 05:56 PM

where can i get one seriosly?

jasmine

September 11, 2008 06:36 PM

cool polar bears

Heather

December 13, 2008 01:21 PM

This writer needs to get this point... Coke is now and always was an ORIGINAL!!! Never mind that other company. I love Coke, always have. From the logo to the polar bear ad campaigns to the bottle to graphics on the cans, the visuals are beautiful. The colours a clean and crisp red and white. Despite his difficulties and in another time and space, would have welcomed Mr John S Pemberton to my table any day. Long live the Coca-Cola Company. Great products, great taste. I would take a Coke or a Sprite or a Fruitopia or many of their other flavours, when available, over the competitor's brand 100% of the time! The others just don't cut it when looking for the same satisfaction. Even water tastes good out of a Coke bottle!

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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