Coke Zero Launched in Australia

Coca Cola have launched their new product, Coke Zero, in Australia with a controversial campaign including a man riding on the top of a bus, a virtual movement launched on a blog, and pavement art. In January Coke launched its first TV ad for Coke Zero in Australia. Before the middle of February the ad had been withdrawn after complaints about modelling of dangerous behaviour.

Coke Zero Bus Surfer TV Ad

The Bus Surfing TV ad starts off with a bus in peak hour traffic. A young passenger in a white shirt and tie (Gary Boulter) takes a swig of Coke Zero, no doubt breaking the rules of no food and no drink. He reads the label out loud. “Real taste and zero sugar.” So begins the rant… “And what about great life and zero downside?”Growing up, zero giving up. And why don’t relationships come with a gap year? And why don’t bosses come with a mute button? And why can’t weekends start on a Wednesday? And why can’t chick flicks get women realistic expectations?” Women standing by the side of the road hold up signs saying “We love Dan”. Dan is in full swing now, and his bus surfing is being monitored by police in cars with flashing lights. “Today I’m not a Yes Man! I’m Dan! I’m taking this bus to the beach and declaring this day the first ever DSD cubicle day! I have sweaty attire and I may well go commando but I have real taste and zero sugar and this is life as it should be!” The bus screams to a halt. Dan flies through the air, landing in the water with a splash. He jumps out of the water, shouting “I’m fine! I’m fine!”.

The ad isn’t on Australian TV or online anymore. The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau handed down a ruling on its inappropriateness days after Coke had voluntarily withdrawn the ad. The SMH ran a poll on the banning of the ad and received 2 to 1 feedback that the ban was ‘nanny nonsense’. The Coke Zero bus surging ad is being shown on European televisions. See the German ad here.

Coke Zero Bus Surfing Credits

The Coke Zero campaign was developed at Kindred Creative.

Filming was shot by director Paul Middleditch via Plaza Films with producer Peter Masterton.

Blog Campaign

Coke Zero BottleThe Australian press picked up on a couple of blogs that were protesting against the covert launch of Coke Zero through, a Blogspot web site which morphed from a movement to a product.

Readers have the capacity to add their own posts, complete with images, audio and video files. Posts invited readers to join in the Zero Movement. “We’re all about losing the negative stuff in in our lives. So that means zero spam, zero abuse, zero obscenities, zero hate, zero garbage. Wanna see your post live? Embrace the zero!” Eventually the real agenda came out. A drink with zero consequences.

That’s what the zero movement is all about. A life free of limits and consequence. A life with zero shoulds. Zero have tos. Zero musts. A life with more zero. It’s the real taste and zero sugar of Coca-Cola Zero that inspires us. After all if you can have all that then why not a job with zero sucking up? Or a big night out with zero morning afters? Or hey, what about weekends with zero ends? Embrace the zero movement and enjoy real taste with zero sugar. Coca-Cola Zero. And live life as it should be.

Blogging Responses

Two Australian bloggers, Dan (Sydney) and Zed (Melbourne) launched their own site: Over five posts they registered their indignation at the invasion of the blogosphere. Coca Cola Zero was entered at Wikipedia, giving a high profile to their site.

Dave and Jase, another two Australians, launched their own blog in protest at Dan and Zed’s negativity:

A campaigner for social justice, Tim Longhurst, launched his protest site:, proposing that people not buy any carbonated drinks and instead invest in 100 per cent access to clean drinking water in the world.

Digger, a theological student and missional church planter, has written his thoughts on spirituality, consumerism and the Coke Zero movement at

In the meantime, Coke Zero has made incredible inroads into the Australian market. Kindred Creative, the advertising agency behind the campaign, will be taking note of what worked and what didn’t. It will be fascinating to see what emerges next.