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TV eyed for Coke bears

In a case in which art may end up imitating advertising, Creative Artists Agency reportedly is trying to translate “Polar Bears”– one of two dozen commercials the agency masterminded for the Coca-Cola Co. — into a TV series.

The agency has floated the idea past both Universal TV and NBC as potential partners in the project, which apparently remains in an extremely nascent stage.

The spot in question, from CAA’s “Always Coca-Cola” campaign, shows a group of polar bears wearing sunglasses, sitting around watching the Northern Lights while enjoying a cold Coke.

It’s unclear how the agency would adapt the spot — which features computer-generated images — but the options are said to include both animation and the sort of puppetry mastered by Jim Henson Associates on the sitcom “Dinosaurs.”

CAA co-founder Bill Haber, who oversees the agency’s television area, was among those involved in designing the Coke campaign and is said to have been circulating the series proposal. CAA officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

The idea of programming being spawned from a commercial is rare but not unprecedented. CBS, for example, aired some specials based on the Will Vinton Prods. “Dancing Raisins” spots for the California Raisin Advisory Board.

Though some observers downplay the chance of the commercial yielding a series , they acknowledge the concept reflects the novel marketing approaches being employed by CAA, which expanded a consulting relationship with Coke initially forged in September 1991 into its role in the new ad campaign.

As the campaign’s client, Coca-Cola apparently controls the property and would share in any revenues from a possible spin-off. The company also is expected to do a commercial sequel to the “Polar Bears” ad.

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