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Coke bows 24-pack of CAA-crafted ads

The Coca-Cola Co. yesterday unveiled new advertising for its flagship soft drink, including the first 24 commercials produced by Creative Artists Agency.

Two years ago, CAA and Coca-Cola surprised the entertainment community and unsettled the advertising world by entering into an unprecedented arrangement under which the agency was to provide advice running from marketing strategy to talent tie-ins. A year ago, the deal expanded to include CAA as producer of the soft drink company’s commercials.

“Always Coca-Cola” is the new theme for Coke, the ad campaign rolling out worldwide during what was termed a “special preview week” beginning Sunday night , Valentine’s Day.

In a departure from past Coca-Cola strategy, individual spots have been produced to appeal to various viewer segments, according to Peter Sealey, Coca-Cola Co. senior VP and director of global marketing.

In one spot that could easily wind up on MTV, a group of young men wielding icepicks move to a driving beat through an old ice house.

In another spot that may fit with a show like “The Simpsons,” a dog digs furiously before unearthing a Coke. An ad with a multinational spacsehip crew would be a natural for a “Star Trek” episode. Among more mainstream commercials was an ad showing polar bears gathered to watch the northern lights, who are suddenly rewarded with bottles of Coke.

Director Rob Reiner created another spot that traces a couple from the time they shared a Coca-Cola as youngsters to when they share the same drink after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

A New York press conference saw the screening of 26 television ads, including two done by Coca-Cola Co.’s traditional ad agency, Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson. Coke also unveiled its print ad drive and theme song.

Coke wasn’t expected to go public with the new CAA effort for several weeks–it had plans to make a big splash with the campaign on the Academy Awards broadcast. But after screening to a favorable reception from Coke executives at an international management meeting, Coke accelerated its schedule. Despite CAA’s powerhouse talent lineup, the spots do not feature celebrities.

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