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Coke’s strategy for the next 125 years? Amplify the brand as a media channel of course

Quite what this means is anyone’s guess but if Coca-Cola, in rude health as it celebrates 125 years in business with worldwide group sales of $120bn or so, is doing it then everybody else will follow sooner or later.

As usual these days it seems to mean social media/Facebook and whatever else may come next.

Coke, which traditionally guards its various properties jealously (not least the celebrated Coke syrup formula itself) has proved surprisingly open to Facebook and the like since 2008. It now has nearly 30m Facebook fans and has itself become a fan of non paid-for media, doing well on YouTube with some clever virals.

CMO Joe Tripodi said recently that the company’s focus was now on “earned, shared, owned and paid” media although the company, which spent $2.9bn on advertising last year, still seems happy to keep paying.

And he promised a “big powerful promotion” to power the company into the start of its next 125 years and the “amplification” of the aforementioned brand cum media channel.

Decades ago Coke revolutionised its own marketing and that of many others by realising that it wasn’t selling a drink but an idea. Even dedicated cola fans will tell you they buy Coke in preference to other brands because they like the idea of Coke much, much more.

The famous 1970s ‘I’d like to buy the word a Coke’ campaign was a relatively early incarnation of this and its current ‘Happiness Factory’ campaign from Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam is another.

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As is this artful viral.

So we sort of know what CMO Tripodi was driving at.

But not quite all of it.

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