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Coke Olympic Ads To Focus On Fans

March 5, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ The Coca-Cola Co. hopes to cash in on the summer Olympics with an advertising campaign that focuses on fans instead of the athletes, the company’s top marketer said today.

``We will make significant increases in volume and money as a result of the Olympics game effort,″ said Sergio Zyman, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola.

Zyman declined to offer any specifics on either the amount Coca-Cola is spending on the games being held in Coke’s hometown of Atlanta, or on the amount Coca-Cola hopes to make.

``That really is proprietary information,″ Zyman told a news conference unveiling the ad campaign centered around the theme ``For the fans.″

Coca-Cola has sponsored Olympic games since 1928, but Zyman said the new campaign will feature a departure from the focus on athletes and the games themselves that have dominated other recent Olympic ad campaigns.

``A major switch for us here is we’re trying to promote our brands by linking the consumer more tightly,″ Zyman said.

``Can you imagine a football match without fans, or the Tour de France without anybody on the road?″ Zyman said. ``It just wouldn’t be the same, would it?″

The ads suggest fans can influence an event.

One shows a pole vaulter cheered on by a huge crowd as he narrowly flies over the bar, pointing out: ``Some athletes are born great and some athletes are forced into greatness by 50,000 screaming maniacs who are not going to take `no’ for an answer.″

Another shows a soccer goal that barely makes it and asks: ``Even 100,000 people concentrating simultaneously cannot will a small leather ball across a goal line, or can they?″

Coca-Cola also showed off some international ads along similar themes, such as spots airing in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka that focus on cricket and the World Cup of Cricket in Bombay.

The ads feature many images in red _ Coca-Cola’s color _ for example by showing the cricket ball landing in huge piles of hot red chiles.

``Passion has a color and so does refreshment _ and it’s red,″ Zyman said.

Coca-Cola will also runs ads connected with the Euro ’96 soccer championships in England.

These ads encourage fans to ``eat football, sleep football, drink Coca-Cola.″

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