Coca Cola set to boost its spend on diet adverts
Coca-Cola is overhauling its marketing strategy to push its diet drinks amid falling demand for sugary soda in developed markets, including Ireland.
The company is counting on its diet offerings as obesity-conscious consumers turn away from sugary drinks.
The world's fourth most valuable brand will double its advertising spending for diet products here after an internal study found six-out-of-10 Irish people did not know that Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero had no sugar or calories in them.
This is despite the fact that people drink more diet versions of the popular drink than any other market on earth, neck and neck with British consumers, the company's general manager, Jon Wood said.
About 40pc of all Coca-Cola purchases in Ireland are diet products.
A "red, green, amber" labelling scheme modelled on a popular British system will also be introduced to cans and bottles in May to indicate the health impact of the different products.
Similar overhauls are taking place in other Coca-Cola markets around the world.
It recently signed a sponsorship deal with the Rugby World Cup for Coke Zero rather than the overall Coca-Cola brand. The diet food and drink industry is a huge growth area, Mr Wood said.
Coke's sales in North America, its biggest market, have declined or remained flat for three of its last four quarters the firm reported.
Analysts blamed growing consumer preference for health drinks and fears about artificial sweeteners
Coca-Cola's last major marketing campaign in Ireland was, the "share a coke" initiative where cans and bottles were labelled with common Irish names.
It was criticised by some as being geared towards children but Mr Wood said this was not the case.
"Everyone has a name. And we are very sensitive about this issue.
"We do not advertise on any television show where more than a third of the audience is children," he said.