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Coke : Why are we so addicted to it?

What is an effective way of selling a product? Well the answer to that question has changed overtime. Here we are in the current digital age, where the best route is through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, but just a decade ago it was more likely to have been Facebook, and a decade before that it would have been TV or billboard posters. To have created a successful advertisement you would need a strategy and a plan. A solid campaign. I want to find out how exactly a creative agency can create a relevant campaign. 

Coca-Cola, the drink originally intended for medicinal purposes and introduced back in 1886. 134 years ago! Having 10 spin off flavours that followed it, the brand has grown into the $200 billion dollar net worth it has today. 

Pemberton’s new drink was marketed and sold as a patent medicine, Pemberton claiming it a cure for many diseases, including morphine addiction, indigestion and nerve disorders.

What is it that’s so good about Coke? Is it the beverage’s taste or the creative agencies and marketing behind it? Coke has always been brand over product. The drink itself lends its success to its marketing and campaigns.

Back to the 70s Coke released it’s 1971 ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke’. The advert was created by the McCann Erikson advertising agency, and popularised itself by even creating a pop ballad. The advert featured people of many races, and the message of coming together and people uniting was a current and cultural discussion due to civil rights movements and wars going on at the time. It was also the hippie movement. So an all loving advert to unit all nations and have a love spreading message, was current and modern for the time.

1995 had Coke’s Christmas campaign where they had a ‘Christmas Caravan’ campaign. Created by agency W.B Doner. The ads featuring big red trucks, with the coke logo and Santa on them, illuminated in christmas lights. These were special effects from world renowned Industrial Light and Magic, that worked on Star Wars films. The advert is Coke’s most used TV advertisement. Adverts of the 90s confronted new social and cultural topics of the time, for example the growth of population and farer reaches of countries for brands and retailers, including increased minorities and immigration. The advert features the trucks visiting different locations worldwide and was broadcasted in 100 countries with millions of views, emphasising the growing world and the far reach of Coke.

In 2011 Coke worked with creative agency Oglivy to create a campaign for the summer. It was also to appeal to the new millennial consumer. The product? A release of bottles and cans brandishing 150 names of typical Australians. It was a major success and sold 250 million units, in a country of just 23 million. It soon spread globally. The bottles and cans became an internet sensation. The unique idea of a personalised product created the idea of rarity and uniqueness, which at the time society was in a process of culturally expressing oneself and being individual. It was also the Instagram era, so the new young consumer’s gave the company free advertisement by posting and reporting with the campaign earning 18,300,000 plus media impressions. The late 2000s were also the birth of celebrity culture, as social media evolved so were fans able to properly view and be entertained by their idols on a much more personal level. A young idol for many young consumers was Selena Gomez, who had the lyrics to her song ‘Me & The Rhythm’ on her red bottle, which she posted on Instagram. The brand was evolving to the current and new digital age and climate of advertisement. 

Just July last year, after a 4 month hiatus from major campaigns since April 2020 due to the pandemic. Named ‘Open like never before’ Coca-Cola has partnered with George “The Poet” Mpanga, a award winning, London spoken word performer. The campaign created by 72andSunny Amsterdam, was to reflect a social and cultural change due to the pandemic and the coming together of people. The campaign was a more personal and emotive body of work and features an ad generator platform which allows small businesses in the hospitality sector to receive free adverts and media support. It reflects the current cultural climate at a time of charity and support for others, and is to show optimism towards a new future, inspiring happiness after a year of depression and difficulty. It also allows for the public to really see the company’s heart and charitable side.

On the 26th December of 2020, they released a statement ‘We want to inspire people to find hope and optimism in the new year, despite the tough times we’ve experienced in much of 2020.’ The campaign, similar to the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, but with a mending and post pandemic twist, will have the Coke logo replaced with a ‘series of resolutions encouraging our fans to reflect on 2020 and look ahead to how we can all be ‘Open To Better’ in 2021.’ Showing that Coke is a powerhouse at moving with the times and staying current in both their ethics and morals but their campaign and marketing. 

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Writer : Stewart Russell-Moya