Marketing manifesto for the 21st Century – Coca Cola Content 2020 (Part 1 & 2)

‘Holidays’s are coming, holidays are coming…’

…well ok, they’ve just been, but it seems an appropriate time of year to highlight the marketing feats that have come out of The Coca-Cola Company over the last few decades. The arrival of the Coke truck, the cuddly polar bears, the big red and white Santa have all been synonymous with Christmas or ‘Holiday’, evoking warm memories in consumers hearts ever since I have been born and long before.

The Company has managed to use it’s communications with consumers to claim ‘ownership’ of Christmas, to mark the start of it even (as several of my friends tweets/fb posts will testify), to sell their chilled sweetened beverages.

The Christmas Coke strategy hasn’t been the only great feat to come out of The Company’s marketing efforts, and across the range they are responsible for a great catalogue of interesting and successful work. However, as a brand with such a heritage they have, like other big brands, had to work out how to continue such success in an increasingly complex, changing, fragmented and uncertain marketing world. To do this they have set out their stall and formulated a recipe for marketing success in the 21st century in the below 2 films.

They attempt to answer the questions on every 21st Century marketer’s lips:

– How to get to grips with new technologies
– How to cope with moving away from reliance on the TVC and the core idea often encapsulated within it, adding layers to it with other channels
– How to leverage content and tie it back to unifying brand proposition
– How to be answer the demand of ‘always on’ comms
– How to use agency and content providers
– How to divide their budgets to ensure results and testing
– How to research their work and derive quality learnings and useable insights

In the spirit of transparency, they have shared their work with these ‘RSA Animate‘ style animated films, uploaded to YouTube and boldly open for all including competitors to see.

Here they are, hopefully much more coherent than my waffle. Erm… ‘Enjoy’

Part 1

Part 2

Video synopsis:
“The media landscape is a very different beast today than it was even 5 years ago. Then agency-led television commercials dominated how we channel our marketing. The very fact you are reading this here proves that things have changed. Coca Cola have always been at the forefront of innovation. In this video Jonathan Mildenhall, Vice-President, Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at The Coca-Cola Company is the person responsible for leading global creative vision and strategy for the Company’s portfolio of global brands. In this video he explains how Coke will leverage the opportunities in the new media landscape and transform one-way storytelling into dynamic storytelling hoping to add value and significance to peoples lives. Jonathan describes the challenge of content creation in an enlightening way, reminding us that “every contact point with a customer should tell an emotional story”.”


The Filter Bubble – a warning against algorithmic recommendation in the web!

The TED talk below isn’t particularly new but I have only just found the time to watch this and it is something that I feel pretty passionately about so thought I would pop down a few thoughts.

In the 9 minute video, Eric Pariser takes us through his eloquent argument against the ‘personalisation’ of the web by algorithms set-up to increase the content you are exposed to that is of a similar kind to that you have previously engaged with.

The ‘Filter Bubble’ refers to your web, and the content inside it that is similar to that which you liked before. The perils of this mean that our interestes become ‘dumbed down’ increasing the sugar factor’ of entertainment vs challenging material.

The strange thing for me as a social media professional how few people actually know this outside media and advertising. Speaking to people about their Facebook news feed is perhaps the best demonstration, and people are astounded to know it’s probably only about 5% of the conversations that are going on that pop up in it. Notice your peripheral friends becoming more marginalised anyone?

Here is a link to the talk…

And this fantastic book cover links to the website to find out more…

Social media and events – making the most of real time mentions

One of the benefits of social media and social networks, is that they provide us with an arena in which we can witness real time ‘word of mouth’ and ‘sentiment’ about surrounding events. On a meaningful level that could mean events as they unfold in an emerging revolution or struggle for democracy as we have witnessed recently in North Africa where networks are a direct way of spreading unfiltered messages to others in the midst of things and the outside world.

Personally I have an issue with overstating the role of social media in recent events such as the Libyan protests, as the media seem intent on purveying social networks as the spark to revolution, where I believe they simply facilitate a free-er and speedier transferrance (sic.) of existing ideas. While they facilitate conversation spread they are not the ‘reasons’ for revolution but at best catalysts.

Quibbling aside about the role of these networks in deeper issues than advertising, much the same rules apply to this space. Social media provides the platform for feedback from those on the ground and allows us the opportunity to amplify niche events, promoting them to the wider world. As brands are in the business of stoking and owning the word of mouth around (often costly) brand funded events, it only makes sense to call on any tools we can to increase the coverage and referral around these. Despite this simple truth however, fairly few experiential/event companies seem to be ‘getting’ social and I think an opportunity is being missed.

One agency that definitely gets it is C&M and they have compiled a framework and series of checklists for making sure your event creates a #buzz around it.

Want to know the Future? I have it…HERE, NOW!

Want to know what the future looks like? Well you could watch a YouTube video about ‘yoof’ or check out this nice looking presentation on slideshare.

Ignore the wanky beginning…war Dubai etc…the meaty stuff kicks in later on.

Advertising works best when its simple…or at least it used to!

The idea of an iconic viral Levis ad is as old as the hills and their latest was released recently (see below). the ad was no doubt seeded as it should be by their agency it has gone straight into the viral charts. Its not a ground-breaking creative idea and seems a little low tempo for me but its bloody simple. The jeans were made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do right across one side of the Levis ‘American heartland’ to the other.

Levis has always had the opportunity to create a viral campaign because its such a great, iconic and sexy brand. It forms part of an elite of advertisers that could have nailed shit to the walls and we would have lapped it up and it would have become ‘cool’. However, it is now possible to bypass the coolness of a brand. Rather than an indication of brand credo, the popularity of ‘virals’ and the viral charts (as good an indication of good advertising as any, that’s another story) seem more than ever to be an indication of not only; the quality (share-ability/slick/funniness) of a TV ad but also the ability of a media agency to seed content (and hopefully spark a viral ‘effect’)

You used to be able to get away with achieving just the first, and the spots secured in semi-appropriate schedules would do the rest but the spread is now of paramount importance. It’s a measure of the rise of the importance of media (and media agencies!) and in particular social media that the second is what differentiates campaigns today.

Taking the Old Spice ads as an example (who hasn’t!) you can see that the creative was great and ‘did the job’ in the first advert but the campaign really came to life with the seeding boost that was achieved by ‘creating’ advocates through personalised creative. Doubters would point to the recent Nike ‘Write the future’ ad and say “that’s just great creative” but in reality aside from a large amount of viral seeding they also undertook a huge social push including the first ever global engagement ad roadblock on Facebook.

So it would seem that ‘pure’ advertising has become infiltrated somehow by those who create the hits, the ‘pushers’ if you like, starting the fire and then pouring petrol over everyone standing around it.

Like This!

Shirky’s back! And now he’s explaining ‘cognitive surplus’.

Clay Shirky, the renowned ‘futurist’ and explainer of web trends is back on the talking circuit.

Following the tremendous success of ‘Here comes everybody…’, Clay lays down the hypothesis that in a post-tv (couch potato) world, we can achieve a lot more. With social networks and the power of the web, people are using their ‘spare brain power’ for that of good. His example is crisis crowdsource too Ushahidi, born out of the bloodshed after a disputed Presidential election.

I agree in a large part, we are able to get the most out of ourselves by using the linking and empowering potential of the web, its all about group action. However, the directions for use of these free brain hours are the same as always, and although we are problem solving to make life better in a civic way, we could just as easily find those that want ‘negative’ outcomes for everyone. The difference between those creating civic ‘good’ and civic ‘bad’ is the same as the differences that exist in life generally, and they can use the same tools to do either.

That said I am an altruist, and hope that the good that can be brought about but I am also aware that behaviours on the web more often than not follow patterns that already exist in day to day (offline) society.

Beware: He socks it to the LOLcats (mee no like that!)