Coke Zero Video Contest Invites 'Madness'

Coca Cola March MadabaseAs a core part of its NCAA "Taste the Madness" campaign, Coke Zero has launched a video promotion giving March Madness fans a chance to appear in a special "vignette" aired just prior to tip-off during the NCAA Division I Men's Bastketball National Championship on April 6.

Coke Zero is encouraging fans to upload "their most animated and fanatical videos and photos" supporting their favorite NCAA college basketball team.

Fans can upload their videos and photos between now and the NCAA Men's Final Four on the Coke Zero "March Madabase" (, a database of NCAA basketball fan rituals. The winners, picked by brand-chosen judges, will be hosted on, and will be incorporated into the 30-second vignette during the championship game.

The first two vignettes in the series featured Duke University's "Cameron Crazies" and the University of Kansas' "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" chant.



The brand is promoting awareness of the contest and the site by having a group of students known as school spirit leaders whose teams are in the NCAA post their own videos and photos on In March, Coke Zero will select four of these "Mad Majors" to represent the brand at the Men's Final Four in Detroit, where they will document fan activities and upload content on the Madabase.

In addition, CBS college basketball studio analyst Seth Davis (who was a member of the Cameron Crazies while a student at Duke) and former University of Notre Dame player Bill Laimbeer have been tapped to promote the promotion on air.

Coca-Cola is an official NCAA corporate sponsor, the official fan refreshment of the NCAA and a partner with the NCAA in a 12-year association that includes beverage marketing and media rights to 88 championships.

Sponsoring major sports events such as the NCAA and NASCAR has been key to the success of male-targeted Coke Zero, which has taken off since Coca-Cola put a major new push behind it beginning in 2007. That push, including $13 million spent just on NCAA advertising, helped drive the brand's global sales up from under 43 million gallons to nearly 370 million in 2007.

"Coke Zero must be cannibalizing regular Coke and Diet Coke sales to some extent, but it's very successful because it's filled a hole in the beverage marketplace," notes Laura Ries of the Ries & Ries branding consultancy. "Given the obesity levels in the U.S. in particular, the future of soda--just like beer--is in light varieties. Men want no calories, too, but they don't want to buy anything with 'diet' on the label or anything they think will taste 'diet.'

"Zero is Coke's brand for the future, because it's not stuck either with calories or the 'diet' label. Diet Coke will keep a female customer base, but the younger generations, including women, will go for Zero. No one wants to drink what their mothers drink."

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