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Coke spends $13 million on Super Bowl, Oscars

Coca-Cola Co. said Friday it would spend about $13 million for commercials on the Super Bowl and the Oscars this year, the first time in years the company plans to advertise on the two most-watched U.S. television events.
/ Source: Reuters

Coca-Cola Co. said Friday that for the first time in years it would advertise in 2006 on U.S. television’s biggest events — the Super Bowl and the Oscars.

The world’s biggest soft drink company said it would sponsor the kickoff show, the final pregame segment, of the Super Bowl on Feb. 5. Coke, which has stayed away from U.S. television’s most watched and expensive event for eight years, will showcase two 15-second commercials and a 60-second commercial for its Full Throttle energy drink.

The actual football championship game will include a total of about two minutes of ads by rival PepsiCo Inc.

Coke will also advertise its Vault carbonated energy drink before the game through two 30-second commercials, bringing its ad spending for the Super Bowl to about $3.5 million.

“This is the ultimate guy event and with us having two guy-focused brands that we didn’t have before, it was a great fit,” said Coke spokeswoman Susan McDermott.

Getting on the red carpet
After the Super Bowl, the Oscars are U.S. television’s second most-watched event. A growing number of advertisers are using the venue to launch new marketing campaigns.

PepsiCo, which had been Oscar’s exclusive drink sponsor for seven years, turned down the sponsorship this year.

“It is a great event, but it is just one night,” said PepsiCo’s spokeswoman Nicole Bradley. “We are looking for events that help us execute marketing over a longer period of time.”

Coke has signed a two-year advertising contract with broadcaster ABC for Hollywood’s big night. ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co., is also broadcasting the Super Bowl.

“When we left the Oscars seven years ago we had never written off being associated again with the Oscars,” Coke’s McDermott said. “We are looking more at entertainment lifestyle marketing as the way we market Diet Coke.”

On March 5, Coke plans to air six 30-second commercials during the Oscars and one ad before the program starts, with total ad spend coming close to $10 million. The bulk of the commercials will be for Diet Coke.

Coke’s advertising expenses for the program preceding the Super Bowl and for the Oscars, which is based on average advertising prices of $1.6 million for a 30 second spot during the awards show on ABC, are estimated at about $13 million.

The soft drink maker’s ad blitz comes on the heels of its December investor meeting, when Coke announced a slew of innovations and new packaging along with a new marketing slogan — Welcome to the Coke Side of Life — that Chief Executive Neville Isdell said would help drive volume and profit growth.