NEW YORK: Coke Zero, the low-calorie carbonated drink, has successfully crafted "drinkable" ads that both engage consumers and help boost trial levels.

Jennifer Healan, Coca-Cola's group director/integrated marketing content, discussed this effort at Advertising Week 2015.

And she revealed that Coke Zero had a problem to solve, given most of its target audience were misinformed about its flavour.

"Two-thirds of our target didn't know what Coke Zero tastes like," she said. (For more, including further campaign details, read Warc's exclusive report: "Drinkable ads" put fizz into Coke Zero's marketing.)

"They actually thought it tasted like a diet cola – and they're wrong. So, thinking about what we needed to do with this brand, which was drive trial: how do you [do that] and change perceptions when they think it tastes like something else?"

Addressing this issue promised to be financially beneficial, as 50% of people who tried the product ultimately turned into regular customers.

What was the solution? "Well, you create 'Drinkable', the most innovative sampling idea and sampling campaign," said Healan.

One component of this initiative was a giant billboard which served fresh Coke Zero during the finals of the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament in Indianapolis.

Print ads and fliers also transformed into Coke Zero cups, and gave consumers a coupon letting them try the drink for free.

Elsewhere, a TV spot ad created with Shazam showed a bottle pouring the beverage, with viewers who logged into the app then able to turn their phone into a corresponding virtual glass – and receive a Coke Zero voucher.

Digital billboards and high-definition videos at events allowed consumers to participate in similar interactive experiences in various locations across Indianapolis, too.

"You think about the most simple idea of sampling a product [and] you take it to its most innovative way to actually challenge perceptions and drive craveability," said Healan. "It's all about craveability and desire."

This effort enabled Coke Zero to tap into its parent brand's core values, too. "I think as people are evolving, what's important to them also evolves. But it does come back to the core of connecting," she said.

"Friends and fun – the things that Coke is known for."

Data sourced from Warc