The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled its plans for the launch of Coca-Cola C2 in the US. The drink, with half the carbohydrates, calories and sugar of regular cola, was launched in Los Angeles yesterday.

"We're responding again to what our consumers are telling us they want," said Don Knauss, president and chief operating officer, Coca-Cola North America. "Today's consumers are looking for choices that fit their lifestyles. They want to keep enjoying the special cola taste that Coca-Cola delivers, but with the option of a lower-carb, lower-cal soft drink. Coca-Cola C2 gives that freedom of choice."

The new brand will appear on store shelves across the US early next month. Coca-Cola C2 was first unveiled to consumers in Japan on 18 May, and will be available there on 7 June.

The company's marketing plans for the new drink will include the debut of a television commercial during the finals of American Idol on US television today and tomorrow. The ad uses the Rolling Stones' song "You Can't Always Get What You Want." A second ad featuring "I Want to Break Free" by Queen will hit the air in July.

The US roll-out will be supported by television, radio, outdoor, cinema and Internet advertising. Advertising will carry the tagline "Half the carbs. Half the cals. All the great taste."

The packaging graphics feature the Coca-Cola trademark in black on a red background, to provide a distinctive visual difference between Coca-Cola C2 and the flagship brand, Coca-Cola classic. Some packages will carry a special silver foil label, to enhance the design and distinction. Original point-of-sale merchandising featuring additional graphics has also been developed for in-store activation.

Coca-Cola C2 will be available immediately in 20-ounce PET bottles and 12-ounce cans, including special 8- and 18-can multi-packs. Coca-Cola C2 also will be offered at fountain soon after the launch of the bottle/can packaging.