Coke Boosts Ad Spending, Reports Results

Coca-Cola reported a year-to-date revenue jump Thursday, propelled partly by a 10% increase in worldwide marketing spending, company officials said.

"We believe we're getting traction out of the spend," said Chairman-CEO Neville Isdell on a conference call with analysts. Isdell has made increasing ad dollars a priority in his tenure.

Isdell reportedly has boosted Coke's marketing investment by $400 million a year--meaning that it will come close to $3 billion this year. The company is currently employing a worldwide "Coke Side of Life" campaign.

So far, however, the global revenue increase has trailed the rate of increase in marketing dollars. Net operating revenues for the first nine months of 2006 jumped 3% to $18.16 billion. In the most recent third quarter, net operating revenues increased 7% to $6.45 billion.

Still, Isdell added, "effective marketing programs ... are increasingly connecting with our consumers." Particularly helpful this year, he noted, were marketing initiatives tied to the World Cup this summer outside the U.S., highlighted by soccer hotbeds Europe and Latin America. Isdell said World Cup programs were rolled out in more than 100 markets.

However, one troubled business segment he cited Thursday was in ready-to-drink tea and coffee beverages, which he deemed unsatisfactory. "There's clearly more that we can do," he said.



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