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Which lucky UK agency will land Coca-Cola Life?

Unknown-3Coca-Cola is launching Coca-Cola Life in the UK today. Coke Life sits between Coke Zero and Diet Coke in the lower calorie stakes.

Coca-Cola has taken a monumental PR pounding in recent years for making the world fatter and you do wonder why it doesn’t just reduce the sugar in regular Coke dramatically and save itself all this bother. The fiasco of ‘New Coke’ decades ago, when consumers in the US deserted the brand when they thought it had been tampered with, is probably still etched on Coke executives’ hearts and wallets.

The world didn’t agonise over so-called obesity in those days though (anybody without ‘obesity’ is probably suffering from bulimia these days) and it’s unlikely that Coke Life, for all its green packaging and use of sweetener Stevia instead of some of the sugar, will get Coke off the obesity hook.

Still, it will doubtless be a bonanza for some lucky ad agency – if Coke decides to get behind it. The ultra-cautious ad-free launch suggests a test market. Coke spent five years researching the libation before its eventual launch in Argentina last year, which is, frankly, bizarre. It’s not a cure for cancer.

While Coke the company is ultra-cautious its advertising often isn’t; using some of the world’s sparkier agencies to produce very good work. Back in the day Coke Life would have headed straight to McCann but that was then.

Coke’s current flavour of the month appears to be Droga5 which is the agency of record for both Coke Zero and Diet Coke in the US. Droga5 has a newish office in London which would just love Coke Life although the company may see D5 in London as untested and may feel that all three of its lower calories brands in one agency is too much. BETC London has handled Diet Coke for the past couple of years.

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Mother also works on Coke as does Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam. W+K London is an obvious home for Coke Life although W+K Portland lost Diet Coke to D5 a while ago.

It may never happen of course. Coke Life might bomb here. If it should do so Coke the company might decide to do something about regular Coke’s sugar and solve its problems in one.

But that’s far too obvious…

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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