Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dude! My marketing campaign is sooo, like, you know, rad!

For those of you wondering why Jay and I have been a bit quiet of late, blame Byron Bay. With Jay crunching numbers in Melbourne and me juggling bricks in Sydney, we decided it was time to catch up, soak in some Vitamin D and possibly even bump into Rex Hunt. But after a few weeks off we've returned with healthy glows and complaining livers to mop up the mess that is Coke's Zero Movement and take this baby into the home strech.

Hi my name’s Zed, your Australian media floosie

So it seems that during our little Queensland sojourn the Zero Movement backlash hit the Australian media big time. Tim Longhurst over at has a neat wrap up of these, but some choice cuts include:
  • Advertising industry rag B&T ran a very defensive interview with the Marketing Director of Coca Cola South Pacific.
  • Our traffic skyrocketed when The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story headlined 'Coke gets a zero for effort' which was syndicated by The Age and a few international sites.
  • Another ad-rag, AdNews, published an editorial, which hopes that "the irony of being burned by a grass-roots movement for creating a false grass roots movement is not lost on Coke"
  • Seven’s Sunrise news program ran a story about public disquiet over the Coke Zero ‘Bus-rider’ TVC, which viewers thought might encourage the sort of bus / train surfing that has resulted in quite a few teen deaths in Australia (thanks for the heads up, Russell).
Coke, you just don't get it, do you?

We've been approached by a few publications, both in Australia and overseas for interviews about why Jay and I launched this site. The only we've agreed to so far is for the Packer-mouthpiece and all-round loveable nice guy of Australian news weeklies, The Bulletin. They recently ran an incisive story on The Zero Movement, perhaps made especially incisive by the numerous quotes from Jay sprinkled through it:
"What really struck us was just how cynical it was. Everything about the campaign, from the teaser ads to the hijacking of counter-culture credibility and even the characterisation of its target market, is contrived and insulting,” says Jay, a 27- year-old financial systems analyst who started a counterblog called The Zero Movement Sucks. Jay didn’t want his surname used, for fear his boss would read it. He also insisted on conducting the interview via instant messenger.

“The whole point of grassroots campaigns is that they’re driven by passionate people who spread the message. Coke simply launched a website, created backdated content and even hired PR hacks to fill their site with supportive comments. In essence, they’re attempting to buy credibility and buzz.”
But what amazes me most of all is that despite all the criticism that's been levelled at Coke for attempting to manufacture cool by checking things off from a "Connecting with the Kids" 101 textbook--Blogs? Check. Graffiti? Check. Podcasts? Check.--a statement issued in response to this site and others shows that Coke just doesn't get the point. As The Bulletin reports:
Coke told The Bulletin in a written response that in its pre-campaign polling the strategy was given the thumbs up by its target market. “In the early stages of the campaign we contacted 1000 ‘influentials’ – people who are within the target audience for the product and are influential within their social groups. We gave them an opportunity to taste the product and shared some of our marketing plans, to ensure the campaign creative would resonate with this group. They had an overwhelmingly positive response to the product.”
Focus groups? Marketing plan preview sessions? Pre-campaign polling? 'Influentials'? For the love of God, Coke, that's exactly our point! As long as you let the guy with the silver pony tail dream up and test your marketing strategies according to formulae, focus groups and a complete dearth of creativity, sincerity or passion you are going to end up with lame campaigns like The Zero Movement. According to Coca Cola's Managing Director Gareth Edgecome:
We wanted to connect with the target audience in a novel way … to create ‘talkability’ before the product started hitting the shelves. To do that we had to deliver an irreverent and highly engaging campaign to drive word of mouth.
This man uses the words "novel", "talkability" and "irreverant" in conversation, without the slightest hint of irony, and thinks he can speak my language? That's bodaciously gnarly, dude!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO. Coke: Cowabunga dudes!

11:29 AM  
Anonymous jerry mccoke said...

i was in a 7-eleven yesterday and saw two guys at the fridge. one of them went to grab a coke zero and his mate said 'what kind of pussy are you?'. made me think of you old post.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous sad boy said...

Pepsi Max ads are funny. Coke Zero ads are sad. Why do you make me so sad, coke? WHY?!!!!?!?!?!??! For the love of God, Why?

4:13 PM  
Anonymous the poet who didn't know it said...

Coke Zero you are so lame
As you try to seek fame,
By lying and pretending to be rad,
When you're really being a bit of a cad.
If only you'd kept your sense of humour,
I wouldn't mind drink CZ and getting a tumour.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous MitH said...

ACA 'facts' so it much be true.
look in the video


5:42 PM  
Anonymous MitH said...

and the rest of the 'story' here -

Soft drink wars heat up
10 February 2006

With new marketing campaigns and modern diet drinks, the battle between the soft drink giants is heating up. A Current Affair looks at whether they're any better for you.

There are two camps of fizzy drinkers in this country, the Choke folk and the Pep$i people.

One billion Choca Colas are sold worldwide every day, and here's a trivia fact: per capita, more Choca Cola is consumed in the Northern Territory than anywhere else on the globe.

Peter Applebaum from marketing company Tick Yes says the big soft drink companies are superb marketers. Last year PepSi brought out David Hasselhoff, this year Choke introduced a new brand, ZeroChoke, which contains no sugar. One hundred million of these sugar free drinks have sold in the last month in Australia.

Zero sugar drinks like ZeroChoke and Pep$i Max contain next to no calories which means you aren't consuming any energy you'll need to burn off — great if you're weight conscious.

However, some of the other ingredients may be cause for concern.

These ingredients include artificial sweeteners acesulfame potassium and aspartame (containing phenylalanine) and the preservative sodium benzoate.

Nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin says asapartame can cause headaches and depression, but the cola companies deny that.

Zoe also points out that the drinks contain around as much caffeine as a strong coffee. She warns this can cause irritability, anxiousness, a change in mood and sleeplessness. Consume too much of it and you could find yourself addicted to the caffeine hit.

Never substitute any soft drink for water as water is vital to human health.


5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read you story on the bulliten and thought id check your site out. i think your site is pretty kewl and i agree with most of the posts expecialy the one "pepsi adds are funny coke adds are just stupid"
and i prefer to drink coke normal than coke tastes yuck! but i prefer to dink neither......... its all fattenig or bad for u.....sincerly a huge fan of your movment.....

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm not even sure of pepsi's ads - "i'd kick sugar if i had feet" - does that mean even a pepsi max drink needs sugar?

Oh and if you are going to be fair i read a report in the Herald Sun recently that said something like 25 million coke zeros have been bought so i guess some people like it and like the ad campaign.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous harmony jones said...

Seriously, when will advertising people get the point? Crappest ads I've ever seen.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous P3t3 said...

The only sadder than Coke sending out minions to fill message boards with shit supporting Coke Zero is sending the same minions to post lame "you suck" comments on this one.

5:36 PM  
Blogger BratMama said...

Good on you guys for this anti-movement, I've added it to my blog.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

read about this in the bulletin. i agree, their ads are perplexing. what target market is this appealing to? im 17.. and my sister is 11.. and we both agree pepsi max dominates both our markets, and the coke ads were just horrible and stupid and pointless and smelt of effort.
im switching to pepsi max
good blog guys keep up the good work.

7:15 PM  
Blogger mediawasp said...

Coke Zero makes your mouth feel weird after you've drunk it. Can't be good for you...

7:44 AM  
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3:20 PM  
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Zero sugar but 100% sweetener

2:32 PM  
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4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is interesting how coke seem to have alienated the very market that they were trying to capture. Having said that however I believe Coke Zero has been a very large successw from a financial point of view. If not from a moral one.

1:21 PM  
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