The largest beverage company that has been standing tall for the last 126 years, paved its way into our hearts with more than just the products they sell. Coca Cola is one brand which is recognized by one and all across the globe and when one looks at its brand equity, then it is all about its stories and values, association and above all human connections it has created. As Researchers worldwide would say, this applied marketing strategy by Coke associates with happiness, positivity and good life with their product which in turns creates TOM (top of mind) recall in the mind of the consumers.

Coca-Cola has been one of the top 20 marketing companies by ad spend and they have been pioneers in using technology and innovation in the way they have advertised. Their simple journey in using Santa Claus as an icon of “sharing happiness,” has been one of the smartest games in marketing played by any Brand. Their “Santasque,” like persona in bringing ‘Happiness,” or goodies like Coke to students in cafeteria or labourers sweating it out in Dubai or depicting the peaceful co-existence between Indian and Pakistanis have delighted the consumers and more importantly engaged them with the Brand like no other.

The transition in the Brands tagline from 2009 to date has been a journey of what the Brand has wanted the consumers to associate with. From the emotional tagline of “Open Happiness,” to the more in your face product related, “Taste the Feeling.” During this change in communication, the CMO of the Company said and I quote “Emotional Marketing goes to the extreme, talking about message without the product and values without benefits. Over the last few years we have been talking about happiness and sometimes we forget that we are a drink that tastes very good.” *

Taste the Feeling changed Coke’s positioning but didn’t shy away from the emotional angle and reinforcing that Coca Cola is for everyone and is one brand with different variants. As any self-respecting marketer or would be marketer like me would analyse this shift from pure emotional positioning to one which has a mix of functional as well as emotional experience. The new campaigns have been all about making little everyday moments exceptional or special and most importantly changing the stance of the brand of one which just opens happiness to one which emphasises on how the fizzy drink plays a pivotal role in bringing happiness.

The concept of sharing an ice-cold Coke between friends, family and even strangers has created a buzz like nothing before. The success of these sharing memories, moments or friendships hit the consumers a few years ago and continuous to be the focal point of any summer promotion launched by the Company. The innovations used for these campaigns have etched their mark on the memories of the consumers and a focal talking point for them. The brilliant concept has helped create memories and bring smiles on the face of millions of people across more than 100 Countries.

Not only has it brought smiles to the consumer, it has worked very well for the Company as well. In spite of numerous chatters about the hazards of cola and one of the reasons of world wide obesity being carbonated drinks, Coca Cola has shown a health growth in its numbers. As per the Industry, the Share a Coke campaign showed a 2.5% growth in sales after 10 years of decline.

The intimacy and proximity of Coke and the meaning behind every time one shares a Coke could not have been better encompassed than in this fantastic innovation and advertisement created by O&M Singapore. The idea of the people of Lapland (home of Santa, maybe a brilliant stroke of association with “Santasque”) a Country which lives with snow for around 7 months of the year and with Singapore, a Country which has extremes in temperature of around 1 deg (between 26 & 27 degrees) has left its imprint of happiness in our minds. The commercial shows how citizens of Lapland share happiness with Singaporeans by the simple but alien (to the later) act of playing with snow.

The Journey of marketing this iconic brand has taken another leap towards strengthening its positioning something which a lot of other brands will look at following and or aping, a tough ask for sure!

-Natasha Bhatia || PGP BM&MC