Contradictions in Coke’s colourful summer campaign highlight challenge faced by marketers of junk foods

It’s almost summer in Australia, and Coca-Cola has launched its biggest packaging-based campaign since ‘Share a Coke’, with a range of brightly coloured, smaller cans. But highlighting the challenge of being a purveyor of sugary drinks in an increasingly health-conscious society, the smaller portions form part of Coke’s promise to fight obesity while at the same time the campaign announcement boasts of targeting younger online users to recruit as drinkers.

Coca-Cola has released details on its latest packing-focused campaign for Australian summer 2015-16, changing the colour of its iconic red packaging in a move it will be hoping replicates the enormous success of ‘Share a Coke’ (case study).

The splash of colour is in celebration of the arrival of a 250-millilitre ‘slimline’ Coca-Cola can, part of the company’s promise to provide more access to smaller portions.

In July 2013, Coca-Cola made four business commitments to help to address the issue of obesity in Australia: to increase the availability of our smaller portion sizes, offer more low kilojoule beverage options, provide transparent nutritional information in more places and help get people moving by supporting physical activity programs.

Coke says the ‘Colour Your Summer’ campaign, “is set to disrupt Australia adding a burst of colour this summer while featuring a number of ground breaking innovations rolled out across multiple marketing channels.”

Marketing channels for the campaign include out-of-home (OOH), digital, point of sale, cinema, PR, experiential and social media.

With social media at the core, it’s aiming to make this campaign its most ‘shareable’ ever through a combination of pop-up installations, OOH panels dispensing the product, painted murals of the OOH creative, snackable video content, digital interactive and online influencer engagement.

The company said in a statement that, starting in November, “A nationwide OOH campaign will target a mixture of larger and smaller formats bringing colour to Australia’s major cities. The locations of each installation have been specifically chosen to drive engagement with the campaign and will feature consecutive placements to create impact and highlight the multiple colours.”

Additionally, and here’s the awkward part, it says: “The campaign will use targeted digital display advertising to reach the next generation of drinkers where they spend their time online. 15-second videos will be created for the digital space including over 60 variations, creating snackable content in a format compelling for the audience. By partnering with key online media outlets, young people will be able to experience the #colouryoursummer campaign across multiple devices, with the digital media buy tapping into key passion points across music, fashion and gaming.” [Emphasis added by Marketing.]

“The #colouryoursummer campaign is one of the most innovative and disruptive campaigns that we have ever undertaken, we know that people love to express their individuality and we believe that the five limited edition colours will increase the desirability of our 250ml slimline Coke and Coke Zero cans,” said Antoinette Tyrrell, marketing manager at Coca-Cola South Pacific*.


Agency credits:

  • UM – idea development, connections planning and media buy,
  • Ogilvy – creative digital, social, film and OOH,
  • Adhesive PR – consumer PR,
  • Satellite – digital and website build,
  • Maverick – experiential,
  • Passport – shopper and packaging, and
  • Pulse Communications – trade media.


* The Coca-Cola Company is represented in Australia by Coca-Cola Amatil and Coca-Cola South Pacific.

Peter Roper
BY Peter Roper ON 12 November 2014
Editor of Marketing Magazine and