Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Diet Coke+Good=Too Much Of A Good Thing?

There is a new campaign breaking now that pairs the Mega-brand Diet Coke with the worthy cause of heart health. Fantastic. So why is the real winner Heidi Klum?

Here’s my hunch. This is a sponsorship gone amuck. It’s an event that existed before Diet Coke got involved; the Heart Truth Red Dress Fashion-palooza, or whatever it’s called, with Heidi Klum, and Diet Coke was a sponsor. That was last year. Now it’s year two (actually year seven), and Diet Coke wants to “increase their participation.” (I could be wrong about all of this, btw.)

If you’ve seen the ad, perhaps like me, you thought this was Diet Coke’s way of embracing the cause of heart health. I thought it was their idea, it came from them. And maybe it did. Like a lot of soft drink commercials, they resorted to using a celebrity. Great. I’m in. What can I do? The spot says, “Join Diet Coke in in partnership with Heart Truth, and support women’s heart health,” and the web site.

Oy vey, the web site. It’s a mess. It looks very slick, but there's too much going on. There’s a sweepstakes. There are downloads (wallpapers, screen savers, etc). There’s an online Red Dress fashion display. There’s a Red Dress road show schedule. There’s a fashion show at fashion week. I mean, it’s great to get more attention, but you know what? I just saw the TV spot and I’m at the web site. You’ve already got my attention. I’m looking for a way to help.

They also do a lot of things right. They let you spread the campaign with friends via e-mail forwards and Facebook links. There’s a pdf you can download with an “action plan” about how you can help the campaign (it’s buried somewhere on the site). There’s some small mention suggesting that you yourself should see your doctor (isn’t this the point of the campaign?). And you can donate your Coke points in simple $2 increments to the cause.

All good stuff. But holy crap that’s a lot going on.

It’s a tricky thing, knowing how much is too much. There are so many great ideas marketers can use, it’s tempting to say, “Let’s use ‘em all!”

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m a guy and I like things simpler. Maybe women can take it all in and not be confused like I was.
But I didn’t want a screen-saver, to enter a sweepstakes, and I didn’t have Coke points to donate. I wanted an easy way to help. I’m buying Diet Coke anyway. I’d even buy more if that would help (and I guess it would if I participated in their Coke Points program and donated my points, kind of a hassle).

Don’t get me wrong, I give this campaign an A++ for effort, and for taking this on in the first place. It took a colossal amount of work to put this all together. It’s just frustrating to be left as a spectator, a fan, when an army of Diet-Coke-drinking women is ready to do more. More than send-to-a-friend, sign up for a points program, even more than get my heart checked (will they really even do this?).

On the other hand, maybe that’s enough. Is it?

(PS – One of the most baffling parts of this campaign is the web page where you actually donate/redeem Coke points. There are ads for OTHER COMPANIES on this page. Walgreens, Wii Music, Sumerlin, Chicago Tourism, and odd floating logos from Nike, Disney, Blockbuster, Delta, and more. Coke is selling ads on Really?)

(PPS - Creatively, I'm not usually a fan of celebrity spots. It's usually borrowed interest, off topic, and the thing you remember most about the campaign isn't soda or heart health, but how hot Heidi Klum is.) I'm reading: Diet Coke+Good=Too Much Of A Good Thing?Tweet this!

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