Coca-Cola’s Reputation-Damaging Fake Blog

    January 12, 2006

I don’t have a problem, in principle, with character blogs and fake blogs.

I haven’t seen many that work, but that doesn’t mean somebody won’t come up with one that succeeds on all levels. I do, however, have a big problem with deceit, which is exactly what Coca-Cola has engaged in with a fake blog unmasked only after the Beyond Madison Avenue blog ran a WhoIs search to learn who owned the property.

The blog, called “The Zero Movement,” was redesigned to prominently display Coke’s graphic identity after the deception was unmasked by BMA and Adrants. Before that, there was no clue to its parentage. Read the description of the site and you’ll learn that “The Zero Movement has one goal in mind. To rid the world of the negative consequences that limit us all.” Not a clue there that its goal is to market Coke Zero, the company’s new zero-calorie soft drink. Now, click the HQ link to get a blatant advertisement.

So what happens when you aim to deceive? You wind up with blogs like “The Zero Movement Sucks” blog, with the tagline: The Truth Behind Coca-Cola and their Latest Attempt at Cool’ Underground Marketing.

Good job, Coke. All I can say is: It ain’t the real thing.

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.