Coke Lies, Misleads With Fake 'Zero' Blog

coke_zero_movement.jpg

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.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (16)     File: Brands, Opinion, Weblogs, Worst     Jan-11-06  
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Comments

Good pick-up Steve. I saw this and added a post on BMA, but in checking it out, I noticed this blog(http://grindercom.blogspot.com/) which claims that the guy running 'the zero movement' is a friend of their's. Then of course the blog goes on to mention in other threads how great Coke Zero is.

Posted by: Mack Collier on January 11, 2006 12:47 PM

Another great viral effort from CP+B, no doubt!

Posted by: THEKING on January 11, 2006 01:02 PM

Yeah, great -- if by "great" you mean "impossibly lame." First that cringeworthy Chilltop commercial, now this: Is Crispin farming their Coke Zero work out to Grey or JWT?

Posted by: Dark Muffy on January 11, 2006 01:10 PM

Pay attention children, this is how *not* to run an anonoblog or manage a successful viral blog marketing campaign.

Posted by: Blogossary on January 11, 2006 02:31 PM

Well, between you and me and others, we'll be linking to him, helping them right along. Any news is good news, eh?

Posted by: Bitch | Lab on January 11, 2006 03:11 PM

they refused to post my fake comment!

Posted by: arthuradotas on January 11, 2006 04:00 PM

I checked out BlogPulse, and it doesn't look like it has information for some blogs I have been reading for two years ore more now. That's nothing to go by. That tool seems useless.

Posted by: Bjorn Tipling on January 11, 2006 05:35 PM

The blog's misleading, yes but how is it not completely obvious that the website is marketing for Coke Zero?

If the big-ass coke zero bottle on the front page didn't give it away... http://www.thezeromovement.com/img/homepage-bottle-topleft.jpg

I dunno what does

Posted by: Jack on January 11, 2006 06:54 PM

Jack, that page was not in existence when this post was written. It seems they caught wind and made a quick fix.

Posted by: Steve Hall on January 11, 2006 07:26 PM

The Coke Zero Blog

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR: Lameathan O'Laymian
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Lami Lameson
WRITER: Lamus McLamey
ART DIRECTOR: None (Blogspot template)

Posted by: Eric Weaver on January 11, 2006 09:48 PM

The site you're talking about is an Ozzie site - Coke Zero just launched out here inj last few dayswhich I think is why Coke have just put branding up on it - stuff before was just teaser activity?? BRanding of Coke Zero is black rather than white on site - and that's the colour Coke Zero is out here - is it not white in the US?

Posted by: John on January 12, 2006 03:28 AM

they also have the following on there as well -- was this not there before?


©2005 The Coca-Cola Company | "Coca-Cola", "Coca-Cola Zero", "as it should be", the Contour Bottle and the Dynamic Ribbon Device
are trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company

Posted by: phil on January 18, 2006 02:08 PM

It's called viral marketing.

Posted by: AJ on March 13, 2006 12:46 AM

No, AJ, it's called stealth marketing, lying, misleading, misrepresenting, fabrication, untruthful and an illustration of a general misunderstanding of the medium.

Posted by: Steve Hall on March 13, 2006 12:30 PM

A great reference to your piece here: http://www.unboundedition.com/content/view/210/54/

Posted by: tom on April 14, 2007 01:34 PM

A great reference to your piece here: http://www.unboundedition.com/content/view/210/54/

Posted by: tom on April 14, 2007 01:35 PM

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