2005 Beverage Advertising Preview
Beverage industry advertising has produced some of pop culture’s most recognizable taglines, like “Have a Coke and a Smile,” “The Joy of Cola,” “This Bud’s for You,” and “Tastes Great, Less Filling.” That tradition should continue in 2005, as major beverage manufacturers prepare to roll out new advertising campaigns aimed at sharpening their competitive edge.
Beer vs. Beer
The battle for beer category supremacy reached a fevered pitch in 2004 between Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Co., and shows few signs of abating in 2005. Television spots pitting freshness, touted by Anheuser-Busch, vs. taste, promoted by Miller, continue to populate the airwaves.
As an extension of the campaign, Miller plans to expand the on-premise taste tests it began in 2004, with a goal of reaching five million consumers by the end of 2005. Anheuser-Busch’s 2005 Budweiser and Bud Light advertising plans once again include prominent placement of television spots during February’s Super Bowl XXXIX telecast. The brewer purchased five minutes of advertising time — traditionally among the year’s most expensive ad buys — and plans to air 10 30-second ads. This is the 17th consecutive year Anheuser-Busch has been the game’s exclusive beer category advertiser, a relationship slated to continue through 2006.
“The Super Bowl allows Anheuser-Busch and all companies to reach the largest television viewing audience of the year,” says Tony Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch. “There is no other media event in which we can reach so many beer drinkers at one time, which makes this a very efficient media buy for us.”
Other major events during which Anheuser-Busch will advertise include the Academy Awards; the NCAA Basketball Tournament; the Major League Baseball season, including the All-Star Game, playoffs and World Series; the Daytona 500 and other NASCAR Nextel Cup races; and the NBA playoffs.  
Anheuser-Busch will also focus 2005 marketing and advertising efforts on low-carb products, including its new Budweiser Select beer; new product introductions, such as its BE beer/energy drink; and packaging innovations. In addition to its Bud Light applied plastic label bottles, the company will introduce a 16-ounce aluminum bottle for Michelob, Michelob Light and Anheuser World Select that will be available in bars, clubs and convenience stores. Like Miller, Anheuser-Busch plans to concentrate heavily on on-premise promotions and sampling.
Cola competition
In the soft drink category, The Coca-Cola Co. recently unveiled what it calls a “manifesto for change,” which it hopes will revitalize its brands, including a $400-million investment in marketing and a renewed advertising focus on youth markets. Flagship Coca-Cola Classic reportedly is expected to receive a 40 percent increase in marketing spending. And new creative for Coca-Cola’s “Real” campaign is expected to roll out in January around the company’s sponsorship of the Fox reality show “American Idol,” and new ads will debut in the spring for its C2 brand, which features half the carbs and calories of regular Coke.
Although Coca-Cola’s advertising plans were not final at presstime, company spokesperson Susan McDermott said new ads for the company’s key brands – Coca-Cola, Dasani bottled water, Diet Coke and Sprite – are planned for 2005 and will begin airing this month. While Coca-Cola doesn’t plan major advertising pushes around events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl, its Coke and Sprite brands are sponsors of NASCAR and the NBA, respectively, so it does advertise heavily during those sports seasons.
While all of its brands will receive strong treatment in 2005, McDermott says, “Coke usually gets a little more emphasis just because it’s the flagship brand, but there will be emphasis on all the lead brands. For example, bottled water is such a fast-growing category that we really want to continue to have our share of voice. Sprite is a big NBA sponsor, so you’ll see a lot of Sprite presence during NBA advertising. And diet products are growing really quickly right now, so we’ll certainly have a significant push behind Diet Coke.”
Pepsi-Cola North America, Coca-Cola’s main rival, is planning a major ad presence during the Super Bowl and Academy Awards broadcasts, as has been its tradition. Advertising plans were still being finalized at presstime, but Pepsi does expect to unveil new ads in early 2005, and reports indicate a major push next year around its Diet Pepsi brand.
Pepsi will continue spreading its ad dollars among media outlets including broadcast, magazine print, outdoor, Internet and radio, which it uses to target the teen demographic as part of its youthful brand image.
“As far as Pepsi’s concerned, we like to consider ourselves the younger, hipper cola out there, so we tend to go toward a teen and young adult audience,” says Pepsi spokesman Dave DeCecco.
Pepsi recently made a splash on the NBC reality show hit “The Apprentice,” which featured a competition to design a marketing campaign and packaging for Pepsi Edge, which competes directly with Coca-Cola’s C2 product. DeCecco says Pepsi is pleased with the exposure the show gave its new brand, and that it would consider future involvement in a similar opportunity.
At Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, new television ad campaigns will debut in 2005 for its flagship brands, Dr Pepper, 7 Up and Snapple.
College sports provide a heavy advertising focus for Cadbury Schweppes; Dr Pepper’s college football sponsorships will extend into early 2005, while 7 Up sponsors college basketball’s Championship Week and March Madness.
The Grammy Awards provide a major advertising and sponsorship opportunity for 7 Up. “The Grammys are very involved in schools, making music an important part of kids’ education and we’ve helped to rally around that,” says Steve Jarmon, vice president, marketing resources for Cadbury Schweppes Americas. “We’ve done some special-edition cans featuring artwork by Grammy artists, and we’re selling those on eBay and at retail.”
Additionally, 7 Up will promote its new 7 Up Plus product in 2005, targeting female audiences with advertising that features Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa from “Live with Regis and Kelly,” and actresses Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon from “Sex and the City.” 7 Up Plus combines 7 Up, fruit juice, calcium and vitamin C.
“Snapple also has a big year planned,” Jarmon says. “We’ve got a big diet push in the first quarter where we’re giving away a lot of Volkswagen Beetles tied to our diet products. We also have new television advertising breaking with a new tagline that will be coming in January.” BI