Is Diet Coke right to target ‘fashionistas’ as it launches European ad review?

Clever marketing and Coca-Cola are synonymous and the company’s flagship brand is currently enjoying a rich vein of form with its animated work out of Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

Diet Coke hasn’t been quite so lucky in recent years, maybe because the company’s brand wizards seem obsessed with fashion, a notoriously difficult property (if such it is) to export to other brands.

Now the company is reviewing its £40m European ad account although it says its sticking with fashion: “We are looking for a new way of working on the brand in North-West Europe as we take its collaboration with fashion to the next stage. We are therefore exploring partnering with a combination of content agencies with different expertise for 2012 and beyond.” Content agencies is interesting too.

The first victim of this is incumbent UK agency Mother which has struggled manfully to combine the fizzy drink and fashion.

Well it is difficult.

And Mother is usually good at combining chic and cheerful.

Interestingly Coke’s boss of global ad strategy is Jonathan Mildenhall, who used to be strategy director at Mother. Mildenhall surely knows what he’s doing but the emphasis on fashion has all the hallmarks of a Pepsi-type mess, namely making some other association the hero of the campaign rather the product itself.

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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.