Effie Award Winner: because I can.


Manufacturer: Coca-Cola Co.

Lead Agency: Geometry

2019 Shopper Marketing Effie Award: Multi-Retailer Program (Silver)

As the No. 2 brand in the Coca-Cola portfolio, Diet Coke is a category leader and beloved by consumers who grew up with the beverage since its arrival in the 1980s. But for more recent Millennial and Gen-Z shoppers, Diet Coke has lacked resonance. Coca-Cola launched the “because I can.” campaign to boost Diet Coke toward this demographic, and in the process stemmed a tide of 11 straight years of declining sales in the diet soda category. 

In regard to this younger shopper (between 18 and 34 years old) that the Diet Coke team dubbed “Spice Seekers,” they are driven by new, youthful experiences, and research showed that 70% of Millennials and Gen-Z shoppers don’t dislike diet soda as a category, it’s just not relevant to them. To make it relevant, Diet Coke’s fully integrated effort hit on a large, national scale. The program launched against a Super Bowl ad, online videos, print and a wide range of out-of-home advertisements that promoted new packaging and new exciting flavors.

Adding to the campaign fuel, paid influencers, a mobile app experience, social media promotion and ads/media on retailer-based digital properties supported. In-store displays worked with street teams, sampling and sales promotions in stores to further connect the integrated campaign. For a category seeing 11 years of dips in sales, to garner such strong retail support was a huge success.

Program results saw Diet Coke drive a sales growth for the first time in eight years, generating upswings in dollar share, volume, retail dollar volume, velocity and across equity scores that showed the brand was landing directly with young Spice Seekers. The campaign did a strong job of speaking to the digital native shopper through digital tactics but also activating at brick-and-mortar and building awareness on a national scale to reinvent Diet Coke for a new generation.

Members of the Path to Purchase Institute have access to a library of more than 100 case studies of Shopper Marketing Effie award-winning campaigns dating back to 2011.