Coca-Cola sweetens the lives of the 87 residents of Otira with stevia

Last week, Coca-Coca Life hit Kiwi shelves, giving Kiwi consumers their first opportunity to purchase the stevia-based variant. But long before anyone in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington or Dunedin was able to taste the drink, the Coca-Cola team headed south to the rustic setting of Otira to give the 87 permanent residents living there the first sampling rights. 

The proceedings that unfolded were captured on film and then edited into Coke’s new TVC, which carries the ‘Let Life surprise you’ slogan.

Delina Shields, the group marketing manager for Coca-Cola Oceania, says the campaign was developed by Ogilvy Sydney following a brief to develop creative for both sides of the ditch. The agency first shot a spot in Norfolk, Australia, before heading to Otira to film the Kiwi version, which features a soundtrack by Kiwi band, The Babysitters Circus.


Shields says that the focus on ordinary people is designed to give the promotion an authentic feel. And this picks up nicely from the #colouryoursummer campaign, which was promoted by a pair of local YouTube celebrities.    

While an important part of the campaign, Shields explains that the TVC will only form part of multi-faceted comms strategy to spread news about the green cans. 

“This our first major innovation on Coke since Coke Zero in 2006, so it’s fair to say it’s a significant event on our marketing calendar and we are doing a lot of support behind it … We will also be building awareness out and about. We’ll be on billboards, Adshels, street furniture. We’re using a raft of messages to convey the key product benefits and also to surprise people with contextual messages. So, for example, you might see a bench by the Auckland ferry terminal with the call to action what are you waiting for? Try Coca-Cola Life.”

Shields says that Coca-Cola wants as many consumers as possible to try the product, so it is also running a taste-testing road trip.  

“We’ll be sampling in supermarkets and office blocks, and we also have a very cool little combi that will be popping up in urban precincts and giving people a try.”

The Coke Life sample crew has already hit Auckland’s Queen Street and, according to the company’s Facebook page, it will next be heading to Ponsonby and Newmarket. 

Who loves a good surprise? Keep an eye out for more COCA-COLA LIFE surprises over the next few weeks! #LetLifeSurpriseYou

Posted by Coca-Cola New Zealand on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

“It has tested incredibly positively in New Zealand so far,” says Shields. “People were blown away by close it was to Coca-Cola original. A lot of very clever people spent a very long time getting the taste just right.”

Coca-Cola is also be repurposing its drink dispensing Adhsels, which were used during the #colouryoursummer campaign to give passersby an unexpected treat at certain times during the day.    

According to the Coca-Cola release, the company made a commitment in 2013 to offer lower kilojoule options to consumers. And although Shields says that the purpose of introducing the product is give consumers greater variety, it also makes commercial sense. 

According to Nielsen’s supermarket figures up to 13 July 2014, overall sales of carbonated beverages increased by 1.2 percent in value sales but down two percent in volume sales (volume refers to the litres sold and value refers to the dollar value of the sales). When the statistics are broken down, they show a 2.7 percent increase in value sales for low calorie and no calorie products and a 2.9 percent drop for standard (sugary) drinks.

It is clearly evident that many Kiwi consumers are opting for drinks containing less sugar, and this trend is only likely to increase as more information of the ill-effects of sugar are released on mainstream media.   

Agency Credits:

Creative: Ogilvy Sydney and Ogilvy New Zealand
Media: Ikon
Consumer PR: Rocket
Trade PR: FCB
Experiential & Sampling: Uno Loco
POS: Passport

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