Prepared Foods June 20, 2005 enewsletter

While Hollywood has been remaking old classics for years, Coca-Cola is now jumping on that particular bandwagon by re-launching its most famous commercial to market the latest incarnation of its soda.

However, the new version may dismay fans of the 1971 original, which featured an angelic cast of young people singing "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony / I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company."

Instead the new version of Hilltop, as the original was known for its mountainous Italian backdrop, will be called Chilltop and aimed at the "go-go lifestyle" of 18- to 24-year-olds.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the ad was shot recently on the roof of a Philadelphia building at sunset and featured the hip-hop artist G. Love crooning to a cast of young people "I'd like to teach the world to chill, take time to stop and smile / I'd like to buy the world a Coke and chill with it awhile."

It will be used to market Coca-Cola Zero, the zero-calorie cola designed to win back young consumers, especially men, who have ditched sugary fizzy drinks for bottled water.

The launch of the campaign follows some very unchill first-quarter earnings. The company's flagship brand, Coca-Cola Classic, has been losing sales and market share in the U.S. for more than four years.

Katie Bayne, senior vice-president for Coca-Cola brands in North America, told the Wall Street Journal the campaign was meant to convey how Coke Zero is the "perfect beverage to take a moment and re-center yourself."

However, Tom Pirko, president of BevMark LLC, a beverage consulting company in California, said the remake illustrated Coke's lack of fresh ideas. "How much longer can you continue to look back over your shoulder before admitting you have to create a whole new company? They need to create new magic, and you don't do it by using retreads."

The company would be well-advised to devise a brand-building marketing scheme soon, if a recent brand report is any indication. Coca-Cola could lose its spot as the world's top brand name, the report says.

The famous red logo, long considered the most recognized across the globe, is now being challenged for attention by a host of new products.

Coke's brand value has declined 4% annually for four years, Forbes magazine reports.

Rivals include Apple, which is up 38% over four years thanks to the huge success of its iPod music player.

The Blackberry, which provides easy access to e-mails as well as phone calls, is up 36%.

The Starbucks coffee chain has increased its name's value 25%.

MTV, Nike, Toyota and Formula One also featured in Forbes’ top 20 up-and-coming brand names.

Google, the world's largest search engine, is now worth £4.8 billion ($8.8 billion). The site is closely followed by Amazon, Yahoo and eBay.