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Coca-Cola Unbottled. The Unplugged Version

Wed, 7th November 2012, 18:48

Over the years Coca‑Cola has launched many successful marketing campaigns, focusing on the quality of their product (remember that 1969 tagline It’s the Real Thing.. me neither!), while others have referred to the products taste (think 1929’s ‘The Pause that Refreshes’). But many of Coke’s slogans and branding reinforce the image the company wants to project of its role in entertaining, and bringing people together during social occasions. ('Things go better with Coke' and another, 'I’d like to buy the world a Coke') Coke's marketing genius and impressive global reach has now entered the foray of social media.

The blog Coca-Cola Unbottled, was launched in late September as a means to reach out and share their ideas to whole new audiences says Coke’s Director of Digital Communications & Social Media Ashley Brown, in the site’s first blog post

Even in this social age, our communications still felt very one way. We couldn’t easily have a conversation about water conservation, empowering women, or take you behind-the-scenes at the Olympics. So we created this blog.  It’s a home for dialogue about the ideas, initiatives, events, and the social good that Coke contributes to help shape life on our planet.

It’s also the latest (but not the last) step in our commitment to tell meaningful stories that will not only inform and engage you, but also keep you coming back for more.

We’re not the first company to build a blog, but we hope Coca-Cola Unbottled will bring a unique perspective and a fresh point of view that sparks thoughtful conversations and dialogue

'Not the last step' may have been referencing Coca Cola’s latest initiative.  .. the launching of a new photo-sharing service / social network called Happy Places. At the moment Happy Places consists of the domain name happyplaces.com, a yet to be launched website, and a free iOS app, which went live on the App Store yesterday.

Users will be encouraged to create Happy Places profiles, where they can share happy photos with their friends, as well as view pictures from other users, make comments and follow hashtags... and get informed when pictures are uploaded with similar tags.

Editor's note: Notifying users of pics with similar tags is one feature that may need some fine tuning before launch.. a constant spamming of the user base!

Word of another photo-sharing site is not likely to impress the Instagram, Flickr, or numerous others with similar offerings, as the service may further erode market share in the increasingly crowded photo sharing playfield.  With a company like Coke, it’s easy to understand why. Beside the obvious deep pockets, their experience has been garnered by more than a century of doing marketing on a global scale.  Need more proof..

As part of the Bond Integrated Marketing campaign that was developed by Coca-Cola’s North West Europe and Nordics business unit to support Coke’s association with the newest Bond movie “SkyFall”, an online video was launched to drive engagement and conversation.

The video was shot at the Central Station of Antwerp in Belgium and invited real consumers to unlock the 007 in themselves and overcome their personal 007 mission to win exclusive tickets for the movie “SkyFall”. The viral effect of the video was amazing, making the content highly successful for the brand while breaking Company records in terms of online views and engagement. 

Unlock the 007 in You  viral video. Will open in new tab.

While not always getting it right (think New Coke #ouche #Pepsi) they have been successful as evidenced by their longevity.

 

 Blogging Coca-Cola: Lessons From the First Month

While many have declared blogging a casualty of the technological evolution, Unbottled is a good example of how the common blog may not only be alive and well, but also maturing.

Ashley Brown shared in a post some insights learned about blogging in their first month. Many may work for others considering creating a blog for their company .

1.    The blog is more global than we thought

We anticipated that our audience would build very slowly. Our readers hail from 159 countries and have viewed nearly 40,000 pages of content. Only 46% of these readers are from the U.S. – a percentage steadily declining.

2.   There’s more content to share than we thought

We greatly underestimated demand within Coke to share stories.  A month in, we’re posting an average of one story per day and on many days we post two.  And with the growth of the blog outside of the United States, we hope to roll out our first non-English content in the coming weeks.

3.   Building a content pipeline is harder than we thought

While we’ve been pleased with the volume of content we have to share, getting it “production ready” takes time. A lot of it.

4.   Social syndication is more important than we thought

Everyone knows that social syndication – sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and others – is important.  We’ve had an aggressive syndication plan in place since our first post.  But we are surprised by how much traffic the social web drives.

Coke’s latest initiative appears to be surpassing the goals they have set for themselves with nary a cloud in sight... except maybe using the domain happyplaces.com.

Happyplaces.com whois registation was updated in July, and shows Coke as the registered owner. The domain dns are set to Coca Cola nameservers, and point to a non visible website on a Savvis server(s)

Happyplaces.netwas first registed using Melbourne IT in 2004.  Happyplaces.net is presently using Yahoo Merchant Services to host the website Lizzie's Olympic Adventures!

Happyplaces.org also has an active website (a really cool one) that caters to the kiddies, or maybe just the kid in us!  The domain was registered in 2005 using GoDaddy and continues to be hosted with GoDaddy

There are numerous domain extension still available that could have nefarious domain squatters plotting possible variations of the photo-sharing theme envisioned for Coke’s happy place. Possibly Coke, a company cloaked in secrecy around their formula since its earliest days, may be  purposely leaking a domain name to heighten the anticipation for their next step in social media.

Then again, a successful social media campaign is about creating buzz. If some variant of the domain ie: happyplaces dot deviant were to appear, it would certainly achieve that!

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