Coca-Cola has achieved notable successes in digital marketing, not least its massive following on social media and various polar bear campaigns.
Let’s delve into 10 of its most interesting digital initiatives, some of which involve massive global campaigns while others are unique local examples.
1. Love story
Plastic is a hot topic right now, particularly for FMCG brands like Coca Cola.
In 2017, Coca Cola Great Britain created a recycling-focused advert called “Love Story”. The ad, which involved a set made entirely out of recyclable material, depicted two plastic bottles falling in love over and over again – all thanks to the magic of recycling.
With Coca Cola recently announcing that it aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of all its packaging by 2030 – the campaign was a notable example of the brand stepping up on this issue.
2. Taste the Feeling
In 2016, Coca Cola rolled out the integrated ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign – an update to its previous ‘Open Happiness’ tagline. With a number of international agencies working on the campaign, it involved 10 TV commercials, digital, print, out-of-home, and shopper initiatives.
Overall, the theme was to offer an insight into the everyday moments and feelings that surround drinking Coca Cola, as well as to show the diversity of people around the world who enjoy it.
‘Taste the Feeling’ also coincided with the ‘one brand’ strategy in Great Britain, which markets Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero under one umbrella (in terms of branding and design).
3. London 2012
Following the two guiding principles of creating ‘liquid and linked’ content, for the Olympics in 2012 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%.
In celebration of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Coca Cola Brazil launched the #ThatsGold campaign, designed to celebrate the feeling that comes with accomplishing something great – no matter how big or small.
Ads for the campaign featured famous gold medal-winning moments from previous Olympic Games, as well as famous athletes like Nathan Adrian and Jodie Williams. The ads were tailored to global markets too, with countries like the US and Australia seeing more of their own national athletes featured.
Alongside digital and out-of-home ads, #ThatsGold also included an experiential element, with the Olympic Park hosting a special Coca Cola space for visiting fans to have their photos taken with props and buy branded pins and memorabilia.
5. 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.
6. Share A Coke
It goes without saying that Share A Coke is one of Coca-Cola’s most noteworthy digital campaigns.
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.
7. A sleepover in the Christmas truck
We all know it’s Christmas when the Coca Cola truck is spotted on our TV screens. In 2017, the brand decided to capitalise on festive-related excitement with a fun competition in partnership with Laterooms.
The premise was pretty simple, with users merely having to explain why they’re the “ultimate Christmas fan” in the hopes they’d win a sleepover in the famous Christmas truck. The lucky winners were also treated to presents from Santa, festive films, and a load of Christmassy food to complete their stay.
With Coca Cola largely known for large-scale marketing, this simple experiential effort is a nice example of how to create seasonal buzz online and on social.
Ever wanted to sleep inside our iconic Christmas truck? Just visit https://t.co/KLMhcQBTqU, find the magical listing and tell us why you are the ultimate Christmas fan, for your chance to win the ultimate sleepover for two! T&C’s apply: https://t.co/tkVchUeopt #holidaysarecoming pic.twitter.com/KqsEAPXz6s
— Coca-Cola GB (@CocaCola_GB) November 28, 2017
8. We Do
In April 2018, the sugar tax came into force in the UK, forcing up the prices of certain sugary products. The original Coca Cola is one of them, with the 500ml bottle rising from £1.09 to £1.25.
In order to promote its famous beverage in a positive light, Coca Cola launched the “We Do” campaign, highlighting its heritage, and the fact that its recipe hasn’t changed for 132 years. Featuring Elvis Presley, the campaign – which ran across social media as well as offline – included the tagline: “They don’t make them like they used to. We do.”
Alongside this, Coca Cola also redesigned the packaging of its products in the UK to be uniformly red, with the aim of encouraging consumers to try its no-sugar option. A nice example of reactive digital marketing, it’s a firm “take that” to the sugar tax.
Sometimes you just can’t beat a Classic. pic.twitter.com/UXv6qex5Gf
— Coca-Cola GB (@CocaCola_GB) April 6, 2018
9. 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.
10. The Ahh Effect
In 2013, Coca Cola launched The Ahh Effect, which involved a series of online games aimed at teenagers.
The idea was to create fun, ‘snackable’ digital games that cater primarily to mobile users. Notably, it was Coca-Cola’s first all-digital campaign.
The games were all quite basic and several of them involved 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 were 61 different games in the campaign, each designed to cater to the short attention span associated with teenagers. Overall, it was an effective way to reach and engage the brand’s young audience.