Coke partners with chefs and foodies to put the soda on more dinner menus

Dive Brief:

  • The beverage giant is running a new commercial, “Latin Food Feud,” where Chef Aarón Sanchez and noted food truck owners, bloggers and foodies debate the most delicious ways to prepare Latin dishes paired with the beverage. Notable African American Chef Roblé Ali also plays a big part in the campaign.
  • Its part of its recently launched “Serve with a Coca-Cola” campaign that aims to encourage gastronomy aficionados and novice foodies alike to drink the soda, according to a company statement.
  • In addition to the television commercial, the campaign also will feature digital video, print and radio advertising as well as appearances at festivals and events in key markets across the country.

Dive Insight:

Coca-Cola is teaming with some big-name chefs, food bloggers and foodies to try and get the brand back on the minds of people everywhere. Its new campaign is hyping its drinks as a complement to tacos, steak or a chicken sandwich, much like wines are paired with the ideal food.

The company is smart to do something to get some buzz going as an increasing number of consumers are abandoning soda as they look to reduce their sugar consumption. Carbonated soft drink sales fell nearly 1% industry-wide in 2016, its 12th consecutive annual decline, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.

For the first time ever, soda was supplanted by water as the largest beverage category in the U.S. With sugary drinks under attack from consumer advocates and the company's revenue declining, new CEO James Quincey has vowed to move Coca-Cola beyond soda and remake it into "a total beverage company."

Last month, Coca-Cola reported its profit and revenue decreased in the first quarter of 2017 due to weak performance in Latin America. The beverage maker earned $1.18 billion, down from $1.48 billion during the same period a year earlier. It’s no surprise that a large part of the campaign is aimed at this audience.

Ultimately, soda is responsible for the lion's share of Coca-Cola's revenue and profits so anything it can do to boost sales is going to be a positive. Still, it remains to be seen if this campaign is going to grab the attention of consumers and move the needle in a meaningful way for the soda giant. The more likely answer involves expanding into drinks popular with consumers while still embracing its sodas. Quincey appears to be the right person to do that given his comments, though as Coca-Cola has shown recently, it's not going to be an easy task to turn around the American soda icon.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Corporate Marketing Beverages
Top image credit: Coca-Cola