How did Coke get China’s interest in London
Always Coca-Cola: How Coke Reaches Consumers On and Offline
The London Olympics are now long over, but one company is certainly still reaping the benefits. Despite not spending the most money on marketing during this summer’s games, Coca-Cola was the most recalled “Olympic” brand amongst Chinese consumers, with 61% brand awareness.The stunning results are being attributed to Coke’s social media campaign, as well as its commercial series called “Chinese Beats” or “Beats of China”, featuring five Chinese athletes. Without over-saturating the Chinese airwaves with more traditional ad content, Coke engaged consumers via television and social media on an emotional level, turning athletes into pop icons (no pun intended) and earning the brand some serious credibility in the process. Here’s how they did it.
Cultural Fine Tuning
Coke’s original global campaign for the Olympic season revolved around the concept of London as a world music centre. And for most Western countries, the idea worked fine. However, marketers discovered that Chinese youth, their target demographic, did not share this association. So they adopted their concept to encourage national unity in support of the competitors, and developed a campaign of documentary-style commercials featuring athletes like Jiang Jike. The theme was still musical, but viewers in China were encouraged to create their own beats for Olympians in what turned out to be a brilliant use of crowdsourcing techniques. As noted by Marina Palma, Sparkling Brand Director for Coke in China: “The idea of unity and uniting the people of China to send their happy energy to beat for the athletes in London actually turned out to be very powerful.” So, too, did the links at the end of each commercial, encouraging fans to connect with Coke at icoke.cn and share their beats. Over 180 million were sent, and the entries were remixed and played at a star-studded event at the Beijing Worker’s Stadium.
Social Media Strategy
Coca-Cola maintains profiles across Chinese social media networks, from Weibo to Youku. For the Olympics, they pulled out all the stops even going so far as to create a special version of the game Angry Birds just for their Chinese campaign. Coke is no stranger to power of humanizing athletes and celebrities, and several of their commercials have gone viral. Since 2008, they have used high-profile stars like the members of S.H.E. and gold medalist Lu Xian to tell captivating, humorous stories – usually concluding with a link to their Weibo account. In this way Coke not only initiates a dialog with their Chinese fans, but also direct that conversation to their online pages, ensuring that the experience is branded from start to finish – and that they can monitor what consumers are saying.
Coke’s online campaigns have been successful because their content has proven valuable. In the case of the Olympics, Coke supplied consumers with a way to connect to the athletes representing their country. Knowing the power of nationalist sentiment amongst their target demographic, Coke delivered the story that viewers wanted to see – more precisely, their national heroes were transformed into ordinary Chinese people, who struggled and worked hard to prove themselves worthy of competing for China on the international stage.