Monthly Archives: September 2009

Men vs. Women: The DIET COKE Man (Round 1)

“It´s 11.30, it´s diet coke break”, this sentence was setting women’s hearts racing when Coca Cola started to advertise its new light product.

The Coke Light Men has captured the hearts of numerous females and the memorable background song “I just wanna make love to you” underpinned the sexual theme. The launch of the ‘diet Coke’ break campaign was probably one of the most significant steps towards sexual equality in advertising. For the first time not a women but a sexy man was the object of desire.

Furthermore, CCE (Coca-Cola Enterprises) was making a clear distinction between its trilogy of cola brands in its ‘new’ advertising strategy: ‘Coca-Cola’, the universally loved, iconic brand at its core, ‘Coca-Cola Zero’ for the boys and ‘diet Coke’ for females everywhere.

149.539 people, presumably mostly women, watched the video on youtube and numerous Diet Coke commercials followed with similar topics in various countries.

CEE decided to return to its female roots and celebrate modern woman when ‘Coca-Cola Zero’ (dubbed ‘Bloke Coke’) was launched in 2006. Following the return of the iconic ‘diet Coke’ break campaign, featuring a new Hunk, the ‘diet Coke’ advertisement was enlarged through integrated marketing tools. A massive ‘diet Coke’ brand promotion gave lucky consumers the chance of winning and creating their ultimate ‘diet Coke’ break worth £10,000 each. From a trip to Monte Carlo with the girls, being pampered in absolute luxury in Rome or a shopping extravaganza in Florence, winners got a chance to create their own ultimate break.

The promotion included new packaging for ‘diet Coke’ where consumers were able to discover a unique code on pack. Consumers had to register this code on the ‘diet Coke’ break website or text to receive instant notification. Winners had to need to log on, enter the code and then begin creating their ultimate ‘diet Coke’ break online.

Reflecting the universal popularity of reality shows, star searches and Internet voting, Coca-Cola Co. in Germany started a ‘Diet coke man’- competition. The contenders had to prove their humour, intelligence and spontaneity by solving various tasks: Classic dancing, cooking, cocktail mixing or acting. From more than 10,000 competitors a Coke Light Man was selected who starred in a TV spot for German-speaking Europe. The media awareness was enormous.

Coca Cola´s ‘Diet Coke Man’ campaign is probably a role model for women´s advertising. On the contrary to the Media Analyzer survey I presented last week, women liked the ‘sexual aspect’ of the ads and I remember many of my girl friends talking about the campaign and starting to drink Coke Light. With it´s IMC approach the promotion was reinforced to become a brand experience.

In my opinion CCE´s Sex Sells Strategy was not simple-minded, on the contrary-  it was surprising, sexy and set a new standard for emancipated advertising.

What do you mean?



Filed under Communications, Marketing, PR

Men vs. Women – different perceptions and opinions about Sex Sells

It´s probably not a secret, that males and females have different perceptions and opinions about sex in advertising and PR. But who is the key audience, advertising agencies address with showing almost naked bodies? Most of the time sexual ads show women, so the answer seems to be simple: Males! Lets have a look on what a professional SexSells survey revealed when it recently explored how men and women look at sexually themed ads.

The MediaAnalyser poll did not only focus on how genders perceive sexual ads differently, it also figured out what effect, if any, that visual behaviour might have on the ads’ effectiveness.

The first part of the test solicited general opinions about sex in advertising:
While almost half of men (48 percent) said they like sexual ads, few women did (8 percent). Most men (63 percent) said sexual ads have a high stopping power for them; fewer women thought so (28 percent). Also, most women (58 percent) said there is too much sex in advertising; only 29 percent of men said so. Women were also much more likely than men to say that sexual ads promote a deterioration of moral and social values and that they are demeaning for the models used in them.

The second part, a visual test exposed a similar polarization:
Men tend to focus on an ad’s sexual imagery (breasts, legs, skin, etc.), which draws their attention away from other elements of the ad (logo, product shot, headline). This may be why men’s brand recall was worse for the sexual ads than for the nonsexual ones. An average of 19.8 percent recalled the correct brand/product for the nonsexual ads; for the sexual ads, 9.8 percent did. MediaAnalyzer calls this the “vampire effect,” with a toostrong visual sucking up a lot of the attention that would have otherwise been spent on an ad’s actual communication. For further information visit:

But what does these results mean for us as PR professionals?

Is sex an approved advertising and PR strategy, above all, if we want to promote a women´s product? Moreover, the question is if  ‘SexSells’ is effective as women don´t like sexual overflow and men can´t remember the brand name?

What do you think? Does sex in campaigns create brand equity or is it our challenge as PR specialists to  look for other ways to promote a brand? In my eyes, the survey revealed once more that messages and visuals have to be particularly designed for the main target audience…


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A political Sex (best)-Seller

Sex and Politics- probably the most extreme antagonism ever. That´s exactly what makes it so interesting for the media and for us as an audience. In Peter´s example (see guestbook), when a bud was printed on a political campaign poster, the sex sell strategy didn´t really work.

The German party was forced to remove or censor the bud posters with the claim “The only reason to vote black- time for green” and the only positive effect was that they were in the media for a short time. They also could have lost voters not only because the posters could be considered to be pornographic and racist, the party was also not present because they had to remove their ads.

An example for a long lasting Sex Sells affair, literally a best-seller in Sex Sells is – everyone knows this video sequence – …the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Im sure you remember it but anyway, watch this:

The story was a best-seller not for the former US President but for Miss Lewinsky. How much money the intern earned by selling the story to the media, doing interviews and photo shoots is her secret. Nevertheless, the following numbers provided by Media Monitor reveal that it must have been a best-seller:

Allegations of a sexual affair between President Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky first appeared on national television on January 21, 1998. Over the next 30 days, the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news shows broadcast 305 stories on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, with a combined 9 hours 12 minutes of airtime.

During the first week after the story broke, the networks devoted more airtime to it (142 stories) than they gave to Princes s Diana’s death in a comparable period last fall (103 stories). In its first month, the Lewinsky story consumed more than one-third (34%) of the available airtime on the network newscasts – more than the showdown with Iraq, the winter Olympics, the Pope ‘ s visit to Cuba, and EI Nino combined.
(source: Media Monitor, Center for Media and Public Affairs.)

As the story evolved, journalists’ use of unnamed sources and the credibility of the ir information became a major source of controversy. Contrary to the claims of some media critics, it is not clear that the network s relied more heavily on unnamed sources in detailing the Lewinsky charges than they had in previous political scandals.

Accusations that Mr. Clinton had sexual contact with Monica Lewinsky – which would not by it self constitute criminal conduct – were discussed extensively in 114 stories. In contrast, stories alleging criminal behavior were less frequent.

What I find interesting about the case is that although the US President was lying and denying he didn´t lose any sympathies in the end (see video). Normally the most approved way to react on crises situations is honesty, isn´t it? But no: “I never had any sexual relations to that woman…”.

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