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Coca-Cola has achieved some notable successes in digital marketing, not least its massive following on social media and various polar bear campaigns.

As such I thought it would be interesting to round-up 10 of its most interesting digital initiatives, some of which involve massive global campaigns while others are unique local examples.

This post follows on from similar articles focusing on McDonald’s and Nike.

And for more information on Coca-Cola’s digital strategy, checkout our blog posts looking at how the brand uses the four main social networks and how it used co-creation to crowdsource marketing ideas...

The Coca-Cola Happiness Machine

Despite the rather naff name, this simple idea managed to attract a huge amount of online buzz for Coca-Cola.

The Happiness Machines are classic Coke vending machines that dish out treats including drinks, pizza, flowers and sandwiches.

While some give away the freebies to all-comers, others require a specific action to earn a reward. For example, one in Singapore required a hug before it would dispense a free drink, while another in Belgium was dance-activated. 

Coca-Cola then videoed people’s reactions and put the footage on YouTube, earning it millions of views and tons of goodwill towards the brand, all for what appears to be a relatively low level of investment.

London 2012

Following the two guiding principles of creating ‘liquid and linked’ content, for the Olympics Coke decided to target teenage consumers by taking advantage of the inherently social values of the Games, which see the whole world coming together to focus on one event.

The campaign was called ‘Move To The Beat’, and the idea was to use music as the critical element of the storytelling.

Coke recruited London-based producer Mark Ronson and singer Katie B, then took five Olympic hopefuls and used the sound of their sports to create a song.

The campaign involved five key elements that we’ve discussed in a previous blog post: a feature length documentary, the song, TV commercials, Beat TV, and a series of digital/mobile apps called 'The Global Beat'.

Overall the campaign yielded some impressive results:

  • There were more than 25 million video views in total across desktop and mobile.
  • 1,220 people subscribed to the channel.
  • Coke was the second most talked about brand during the Games.
  • It achieved 242 million social web impressions, 39 million impressions on Facebook and 546,000 impressions on YouTube and Beat TV.
  • Move To The Beat was mentioned 246,000 times on Facebook.
  • Coca-Cola attracted an additional 1.5 million Facebook fans and 21,000 Twitter followers.
  • The campaign achieved 245 million search impressions, 461,000 clicks and a CTR of 0.2%.

Super Bowl 2012

In 2012, Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl ad campaign involved two polar bears that reacted to events on the field in real time.

Viewers could interact with the polar bears, who were supporting different teams, by asking questions and posting photos to Facebook or Twitter. When the bears responded they pulled out a smartphone to tweet messages or used a tablet to display images submitted by fans.

As well as a dedicated microsite and social media channels, Coke streamed the real time footage to rich media ad banners on ESPN.com and on mobile apps.

By the third quarter of the game more than 600,000 people were watching the live stream, spending an average of 28 minutes watching the footage.

Overall a total of nine million consumers had viewed the campaign across various platforms.

Coke Zone

Coke Zone is a rewards programme launched in 2008, setup with the aim of capturing customer insights, encouraging customer engagement and helping with global CRM efforts.

Coca-Cola raised awareness of the platform with a series of TV and billboard ads that encouraged young people to sign up.

On-pack codes linked to a rewards website, where points could be redeemed for items such as two-for-one Blockbuster film rentals, Coca-Cola branded items, or used to enter competitions to win bigger prizes.

The key to the campaign was an email and SMS programme that delivered personalised offers and rewards. The marketing messages were triggered by events such as birthdays, reactivations and referrals which supplemented the monthly e-newsletter.

The results were very impressive:

  • The email newsletter receives above industry-average open and click-through rates (29% and 6% respectively) with loyalty communication offers rising to an open rate of 49% and a click through rate of 71%.
  • From November to December 2008 the Coke Zone site achieved the highest unique monthly visitor numbers of any grocery brand website.
  • Monthly site statistics show that dwell time averages nine minutes, and prize draw entries total 116,497.

The site has since been redesigned and now feeds into Coca-Cola’s other social activities.

Share A Coke

It goes without saying that Share A Coke is one of Coca-Cola’s most noteworthy digital campaigns.

It’s such a simple idea, yet the response has been amazing and it’s now a global campaign that has been running for around two years.

The campaign was originally trialled back in 2011, resulting in a 7% increase in sales. It also earned a total of more than 18 million media impressions, and traffic on the Coke Facebook site increased by 870%, with page ‘likes’ growing by 39%.

The campaign gives people the chance to order personalised Coke bottles through a Facebook app, while in some countries the labelling has been changed altogether so all Coke products have different names on them.

It’s been a massive success on social networks as it turns out that people love to share images of Coke bottles with their name on the side.

Tweet Your Christmas Wish

For Christmas 2011 Coca-Cola gave people the chance to have their tweets displayed on its giant neon sign in Piccadilly Circus.

Users had to submit their messages through Coke Zone and could then view a live stream of the billboard to see their message come up if they couldn’t be there in person.

In 2011 there were 94 tweets per day, twice as many as in 2010, with a total of 864 tweets displayed.

Overall there were 6,278 total webcam views, which isn’t really a startling amount, but it’s still quite a neat campaign.

Share A Coke Australia

One interesting development in the Share A Coke campaign ran recently Australia as part of Coke’s new deal with Spotify, whereby people could share a song from the past 50 years.

Each Coke Zero and Coke bottle has a QR code on it that customers can scan to unlock a song. Users can then create playlists or share the songs through Facebook and Twitter. 

It’s a great way of incentivising people to buy Coke products while reinforcing the brand’s association with music and social occasions.

The Friendship Experiment

Over in China Coca-Cola ran a campaign that invited people to take part in a ‘friendship experiment’ with photographer Kurt Tang.

Tang toured the city of Guangzhou asking strangers to take part in a moment of connection in front of his lens. 

The images and a ‘making of’ video were shared in a photography exhibition, through Coca-Cola’s ‘Happiness Network’ digital channels and on Sina Weibo and Renren.

King of the Recycle

In order to encourage recycling in Israel, Coca-Cola created Facebook Places for 10,000 recycle bins around the country.

Users were then encouraged to check-in to the spots and take photos as they recycled their bottles.

The idea was that social influence would play a part and people would be encouraged to recycle after seeing their friends do it. And obviously it helped Coke’s image as a conscientious company. 

The most active participant in the campaign was crowned ‘Recycling King’. 

This is a cool way of using Facebook Places as a marketing tool even when you don’t have actual stores for people to check-in to.

The Ahh Effect

One of Coca-Cola’s most recent digital marketing initiatives, The Ahh Effect, involves a series of online games aimed at teenagers.

The idea was to create fun, ‘snackable’ digital games that cater primarily to mobile users.

It is apparently Coca-Cola’s first all-digital campaign and envisaged to be an on-going initiative over several years.

The games are all quite basic and several of them involve the company’s products, such as one where you have to pin a tail on a can of Coke.

                      

Coca-Cola promoted the games by marketing them through sites such as Buzzfeed, Vevo and Twitter, and also challenged people to create their own mini-games to be included on the Ahh Effect domain.

There will ultimately be 61 different games in the campaign, each designed to cater to the short attention span associated with teenagers.

Econsultancy's Punch event is where 'Marketing meets Creative in the age of data and insight'. Curated by Creative Review, this event showcases the best of insight-driven creative. This event forms part of our week-long Festival of Marketing extravaganza.

David Moth

Published 5 August, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (6)

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Mukesh Chandra

Great article with amazing videos, they have done a tremendous job. New things always inspire people. And coco cola marketer had done the same.

almost 3 years ago

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Karl Harris

Some really nice marketing ideas here.

I think the 'King of Recycling' idea has the most potential as a base concept.

- Create physical points of reference to social brand engagement.

almost 3 years ago

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SEO Singapore

Coca Cola have always the great ideas, I love coke and I love their digital/internet marketing ideas.

almost 3 years ago

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Chanchal Krishna Roy

They are always innovative and always try to hold attention differently. That's why people love them.

almost 3 years ago

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Charlotte

This was very informative. Coca-Cola had awesome ideas, thank you so much for the insight.

almost 3 years ago

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Kevin R Foote

It would be interesting to understand how Coke evaluates the success of these campaigns. As a big brand and sophisticated marketer, I'm sure they look at more than interaction rates. Perhaps they have brand metrics they track, but I doubt they are directly tying to revenue lift. But hey, they're Coke.

almost 3 years ago

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