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Diet Coke ad from YouTube (The Globe and Mail)
Diet Coke ad from YouTube (The Globe and Mail)

Business Briefing

'You’re on’ Coke ads swapped after raised eyebrows, teasing Add to ...

These are stories Report on Business is following Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

Follow Michael Babad and The Globe's Business Briefing on Twitter.

It’s (not) the real thing
Coca-Cola Co. is switching to a new Diet Coke ad campaign today in the wake of some raised eyebrows and teasing in the social media world.

It all has to do with an earlier, and young, campaign with the tagline “You’re on.” Unfortunately, The New York Times and other organizations report, the soft drink giant became a social media and blogger target because, with just a quick glance, the ads could be read by some as “You’re on Coke.”

The ad actually said: “You’re on. Diet Coke.” But given the placement of the logo, with the “Diet” above the “Coke” and in smaller type, I can see how someone could read “You’re on. Coke” with just a fast look at one of the billboards. Hence, the “You’re on Coke.”

When the fun-poking started a couple of months ago, the company said in a statement, posted by AdWeek, that the campaign “celebrates ambitious young achievers from all walks of life and reminds them that Diet Coke is there to support them in the moments when they are at their best.”

The logo formed the centrepiece of the campaign, it added, and “Diet Coke in no way endorses or supports the use of any illegal substance.”

Yesterday, a Coke official told The New York Times that the company believed the most recent campaign was successful, and that it is simply switching to a new one.

"Our brand campaigns are dynamic, and we're always considering ways to ensure our creative engages and resonates with our loyal fans," the pop maker added in a statement today, and a spokesperson did not elaborate where the recent campaign was concerned.

"Diet Coke creative is evolving to celebrate the unique, refreshing and delicious taste of Diet Coke, reminding people why they love the no-calorie brand," the company added.

Encana in new deal
Encana Corp. has struck a $3.1-billion (U.S.) deal to buy a piece of a major Texas oil play.

The Canadian natural gas company, in the midst of a restructuring, is acquiring property in the Eagle Ford from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., which holds the 45,500 acres, The Globe and Mail's Carrie Tait reports.

Doug Suttles, Encana’s chief executive officer, wants his company to shift away from natural gas plays and into zones holding more lucrative commodities such as oil and natural gas liquids. To get there, he has been selling Encana’s assets, trying to create focus. In November, he tapped five of Encana’s existing plays as key to its future. This acquisition adds a sixth key area.

Housing puzzles Fed
The Federal Reserve is puzzled by the U.S.’s sputtering housing market, an emerging economic risk that could force the central bank to keep downward pressure on borrowing costs longer than currently planned, our Washington correspondent Kevin Carmichael writes.

Sounding a “cautionary note” in congressional testimony today, Fed chair Janet Yellen called recent housing data “disappointing” and that future releases “will bear watching.”

The housing market, the collapse of which triggered the financial crisis, had been doing its part in pulling the economy out of the hole left by the Great Recession. That was partly by design, as the Fed’s stimulus measures were meant in part to stoke demand for houses.

Tims profit rises
Tim Hortons Inc. posted a jump in first-quarter profit today, but still fell shy of the expectations of analysts, The Globe and Mail's Bertrand Marotte reports.

The coffee and doughnut giant posted a profit of $90-million or 66 cents a share in the quarter, compared with $86.2-million or 56 cents a year earlier.

Revenue rose 4.8 per cent to $766.4-million.

Same-store sales growth in Canada in the quarter was 1.6 per cent, and in the U.S. 1.9 per cent.

SocGen takes hit
The Ukraine crisis continues to take its toll on European businesses.

Société Générale, the big European bank, today became the latest to be hit, to the tune of a €525-million writedown on its Russian unit, Rosbank.

“Q1 2014 was marked by the emergence of the crisis in Ukraine, with repercussions on the Russian economy, which experienced a sharp slowdown,” the bank said.

“The group confirmed its long-term view of the potential of the Russian banking market and its commitment, with the purchase of minority interests amounting to 7 per cent of Rosbank’s capital on April 11, 2014. At the same time, the decline in the ruble, growing uncertainty concerning the environment and delayed performances prompted the Group to write down goodwill on Russian activities.”

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