Coke Lies, Misleads With Fake 'Zero' Blog
To appeal to men, many soft drink makers have dropped the word "diet" from the name of their products or introduced newly named products. In Coke's case, there's Coke Zero. A clandestine element of the campaign urging men to consume Coke Zero is a weblog, with no mention of Coke's involvement (Note: apparently in reaction to negativity about this effort, the page is now clearly branded with a Coke Zero bottle), named The Zero Movement on which a guy rants about why life is so full of stuff to do and how it would be so much nicer if there was, well, zero to do. It's written in typical character blog prose, devoid of personality and full of whiny banter which comes off like it's a product of a creative brief. There's even fake, supportive comments to go along with it.
While the blog's archives indicate the site's been up since June, 2005, Whois information tells a very different story. Not only does the information reveal the site is a product of Coke, it clearly states the domain for the site was registered November 21, 2005, a full five months after the site, according to its archives, launched. On top of this, blog monitoring service BlogPulse has little to no information on the blog. Had The Zero Movement blog been pumping out posts since June 2005, BlogPulse would have had a sizeable profile for the site. Blog search engine Technorati, aside from some recent referrals, doesn't have much either. In creating The Zero Movement, Coke has lied, misled and misrepresented. Some would call this reprehensible and irresponsible. We'll just call it stupid.
While digging around for this story, along with the other negative comments about this effort, we even found a blog called The Zero Movement Sucks on which The Zero Movement blog is ridiculed and Coke is called out for its patronizing marketing tactics. Following backlash after backlash, it baffles that marketers still attempt to pull wool over people's eyes with these lame cool hunting endeavours. It's as if Coke is purposefully stupid just so they'll get press on this idiocy.
Or, if Crispin Porter + Bogusky is behind this, they, in a brilliant twist, launched this on purpose knowing full well we'd all react this way and give the site all sorts of publicity.
UPDATE: Perhaps in reaction to comments or perhaps a simple coincidence, the homepage of The Zero Movement has been changed and is now emblazoned with a Coke Zero bottle making it clear who's behind the site. It still doesn't excuse the initial approach nor the creation of five month old archives.