Fanta is moving to a consistent, global marketing platform with the latest evolution of its five-year-old "More Fanta, Less Serious" campaign.
The strategic unification is a necessary next step for the brand, given its large and expanding global footprint, and is also designed to enhance marketing productivity, said Coca-Cola Company EVP and chief marketing and commercial officer Joe Tripodi, during a press Webcast Tuesday announcing the campaign. At the same time, the new platform provides flexibility for individual markets to address their specific business needs, he said.
The campaign will run in 190 markets around the world -- more than Coca-Cola's 2010 World Cup campaign -- and reach regions representing 90% of the brand's global sales volume in 2011. Tripodi declined to specify Coca-Cola's investment in the campaign, saying only that the company is devoting "substantial" and increasing resources to both Fanta and Sprite to ensure that these major flavor brands get as much attention as Coke.
Fanta is one of four Coca-Cola Company brands with more than $10 billion in global retail sales (industry estimates put sales at $12 billion-plus), and the company's second-largest sparkling brand outside the U.S. Its largest markets are Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Thailand and Spain, and it is also seeing rapid growth in China and India, in particular, according to Selman Careaga, senior global director of Sprite and Fanta.
The creative for this worldwide evolution of the "Less Serious" campaign, which has been implemented in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia for several years, will debut in the U.S. Wednesday on Fox's "American Idol."
The unifying concept -- that Fanta is "a giggle in a bottle" -- came out of research showing that teenagers, the core target audience, "admire other teens -- and brands --that bring less serious moments into their lives," reported Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of advertising strategy and content excellence. Specifically, in all cultures, the most popular kid in class is the one who uses humor to turn serious moments into moments of levity, he said.
The creative, from Ogilvy & Mather and the Psyop animation shop (also creators of Coke's Happiness Factory), with music from Human Music Worldwide, uses animated, multicultural teenage characters spanning a range of personalities, but all sharing a playful attitude toward life.
The first 30-second TV spot to air on "American Idol" will be "Chase," showing friends chasing a teenage male on a skateboard, drawn by the scent and sparkle of the Fanta he is carrying.
That spot exemplifies "irresistible taste" -- one of the three marketing focuses within the platform, along with the "less serious" theme and new product news or specific attributes, noted Mildenhall. Individual markets can choose which focus to employ, while having access to integrated, culture-appropriate creative for each approach that spans media including television, "mom" print, out-of-home, digital ad banners, a branded YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter and "digital goodies" like ringtones and wallpaper, he said.
In addition, Fanta.com has been unified to provide a consistent user experience and core brand themes, while enabling messaging relevant to local markets. The site will be used by more than 100 of the markets.
Animation not only travels well across markets, but enables teenagers to personally identify with the characters, explained Mildenhall. Videos that are animated are very often ones that "go global" on social media, and the Coca-Cola Company excels at creating "enigmatic worlds," as exemplified in its polar bear and Happiness Machine creative, he noted.
Given the goal of having Fanta become a "badge brand" among teenagers 16 to 18, the characters and scenarios are designed to appeal to consumers in their late teens. "We were careful not to go too young," Mildenhall said.
The unified campaign is also designed to appeal to the entire family, and reinforce mom-approved brand qualities such as all-natural flavors and no caffeine, added Caren Pasquale Seckler, VP, flavor brands portfolio for Coca-Cola North America.
Fanta -- which was reintroduced in the U.S. in 2001 -- is now the #1 fruit-flavored soda brand in the country, with a 40% and growing share, according to Pasquale Seckler.
"There is latent equity in this brand," and the parent company's partnership with "American Idol" represents a perfect platform to leverage that twice weekly, she said. Fanta will air other new creative, such as a "Bounce" spot that focuses specifically on the fun/less serious theme, on subsequent "Idol" installments.
According to Beverage Digest, in 2010, Fanta was the 10th-largest carbonated soda brand in the U.S., with a 1.8% market share (flat with 2009's share). It sold 170.5 million cases, for a 1% gain in volume.