Food & Drink/Fashion: Diet Coke given designer status

Diet Coke hired Lexis to build on the brand's fashion credentials and reach a mainstream female audience of 20- to 29-year-olds. It decided to launch a limited collection that was to be created by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier.

Daisy Lowe: The model helped promote the 'tattoo' collection
Daisy Lowe: The model helped promote the 'tattoo' collection

Campaign: Love it Light by Jean Paul Gaultier
Client: Diet Coke
PR team: Lexis
Timescale: April-October 2012
Budget: £200,000



  • To position the collection as a desirable, inspirational and must-have fashion accessory to the media, influencers and mass consumers
  • To build on the appeal of the brand and promote Diet Coke's 'lighter approach to fashion'
  • To establish Diet Coke's fashion credentials among key influencers and the target audience
  • To generate word of mouth among media and influencers.

Strategy and plan

The PR team split the campaign into two phases: teasing influencers ahead of the launch and then revealing the collection.

As part of the first stage, Gaultier was announced as Diet Coke's creative director through three videos of the designer giving Diet Coke puppets a makeover during a 72-hour time period. The videos were released during Paris Fashion Week, helping to generate excitement and intrigue around the limited edition launch.

As the first two bottles were revealed, five media outlets - Vogue, The Sunday Times' Style, Metro, Heat and InStyle - were invited to the launch of the Night and Day collection in Paris, while 50 media firms and bloggers were invited to a simultaneous launch at Harvey Nichols' Fifth Floor bar in London. The event was hosted by The Daily Telegraph's fashion director Hilary Alexander. The hashtag #dietcokejpg was established to reach followers and drive interest.

Once the products were on the shelves, the team created a live body art window display at Harvey Nichols, with models painted to illustrate the collection. The display was used to attract passers-by and was featured in the production of a time-lapse film.

To launch the final bottle in the 'tattoo' collection, the bottle's design was projected on to model Daisy Lowe's body via 3D body mapping to create exclusive images that were then given to The Sun and Look magazine. Exclusive interviews were published in two consumer publications. The stock images and a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot were then issued to key consumer media, including more than 50 online titles and owned social media channels.

The Tattoo bottles were sampled across fashion parties to bring the collection to the attention of fashion influencers. A bus tour showcased the bottles and cans in cities and towns nationwide.

Measurement and evaluation

The campaign generated 909 pieces of coverage across 33 national and consumer print titles including The Sun, Daily Mirror, The Independent and the Daily Mail, and in InStyle, Heat, Closer, S, You and Star magazines. The tour bus alone generated 70 pieces of coverage.


More than 2,500 limited edition products worth £12,000 were sold on the first day.



This was like PR Viagra; a campaign that lasted because of its three separate parts and yet remained connected to the core message.

None of it was particularly new (designer bottles, body art, celeb tattoos) and Jean Paul Gaultier was not exactly a risk, as he has done this before (Piper-Heidsieck champagne).

But getting overarching longevity out of the campaign with a mock 'creative director role' was a good hook for the fashion press. Even better was getting Hilary Alexander, the grande dame of The Daily Telegraph fashion pages, on board. So it was no surprise that it was covered by the newspaper.

I would have liked to have seen some broadcast appearances for this money and perhaps the choice of Daisy Lowe in the final segment of the campaign with a body-stocking tattoo was too obvious. It lacked Gaultier's humour.

I would have recruited Ann Widdecombe, tattooed her something rotten and projected the image on to the Shard.

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