Coke Resurrects Bottle From Yesteryear
Point-of-sale promos, giveaways tout return to 8-ounce glass

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Coca-Cola, Atlanta, will bolster sales of its age-old family jewel Coca-Cola Classic by employing a hybrid advertising and marketing strategy that appears part direct response and part CRM. And it's starting with the bottle.

"It's all relative to our plans for our new advertising campaign," said spokesman Bob Bertini, "but it's a marketing initiative that is only being [implemented] in the United States."

The company is reportedly jettisoning its "Always" tagline and will return to its early 20th century "Enjoy" theme in an effort intimately connected to official Coca-Cola bottlers that begins next week. Several advertising and online media service agencies are said to have their hands in the campaign, including McCann-Erickson, Wieden & Kennedy, MacManus Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Leo Burnett, but all were prohibited from discussing any aspect of the program with the press. At Leo Burnett, a spokesman said, "I can't even confirm that we are working with them."

The new positioning will communicate "a wide range of emotions," according to a statement by Frank Bifulco Jr., senior vice president of marketing at Coca-Cola, and the marketing vehicles will "show people connecting."

No doubt, one of the key ways the company intends to drive that point home is to emboss new 8-ounce Coca-Cola bottles with the names of 75 cities where it is bottled and sold.

In February, more than 1 million 8-ounce glass contour bottles of Coke Classic will be given away in more than 75 cities. Sampling stations will be set up at venues such as malls, movie theatres, concerts, skating rinks and ski areas. Special point-of-sale materials also have been developed, including table tents and counter cards for restaurants as well as pole signs, shelf talkers and static clings for use in retail channels.

A Super Bowl promotion in association with Kraft Foods, the food manufacturing unit of Phillip Morris, New York, is said to be in the works as well. Coke's new effort follows a similar move by PepsiCo, Purchase, NY, last year that unveiled its "Joy of Cola."

According to Competitive Media Reporting, New York, total advertising spending for Coke Classic was $115.5 million for 1998. Pepsi-Cola spent $82.7 million.

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