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Coca-Cola looks to dominate sports marketing with mobile-enabled, cross-channel strategy

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola gears up on mobile

NEW YORK – A Coca-Cola executive at the 2014 MMA Forum discussed in detail how mobile is playing a role in a new campaign for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, one of the brand’s biggest sports sponsorships.

The “Mobile Brings You Closer to Your Consumer” opening keynote session gave a look at how Coca-Cola is leveraging mobile for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil through an integrated retail and digital campaign. One of the more interesting mobile activations is from a series of 18 miniature collectible bottles that have been developed for the games that can be activated via an augmented reality browser or Facebook application.

“These are tiny little bottles, collectible [and] available at retail,” said Tom Daly, head of mobile and search at Coca-Cola, Atlanta.

“This is a very clear link between a big global promotion [and] local activation [that is] promotionally-driven, volume-driving — all possible because of what a mobile phone does to bring this experience to life, and in this case, get a very small Coke bottle in the hand of a consumer through the mobile phone in the other,” said Tom Daly, head of mobile and search at Coca-Cola, Atlanta.

Mobile engagement

In addition to the collection bottles, mobile is also being used in other ways for Coca-Cola's World Cup efforts including a mobile photo-sharing component and a digital sticker program.

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Coca-Cola’s marketing initiatives are notorious for following what is described as a 70-20-10 structure, which is also being used in the current World Cup program.

The idea is that 70 percent of investments go towards tactics that the brand knows works. Twenty percent of efforts go into making the 70 percent work harder, and the remaining 10 percent of marketing spend is dedicated towards experimentation tactics.

Coca-Cola has historically used a physical sticker book with stickers of players that can be traded with friends to ultimately fill up the book as part of its World Cup efforts. Coca-Cola began adding a digital component to  World Cup sticker program in 2006.

When the program first went digital, the experience was purely developed for Web and has now been used for three World Cup programs. According to Mr. Daly, the program included more than one million consumers engaging with the content within two to three weeks.

Mobile is being used for the first time this year, with an app that went live yesterday. The app lets consumers swap trading cards. Per Mr. Daly, the app is an extension of a program that Coca-Cola knows is already successful on desktop.

Coca-Cola is also integrating promotional PIN codes into the app so that consumers can buy the virtual stickers. 

Photo-sharing happy
Coca-Cola has also built a mobile photo-sharing component to its World Cup program that is called the Happiness Flag. 

The initiative leverages selfies that football and sports fans submit to the brand. These images will then be put on a flag that is displayed on the pitch of the opening match.


Coca-Cola's Happiness Flag

“This year’s 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup program is built around recognition that consumers take enormous amounts of photos of themselves and their friends and their passion for football using their mobile devices,” Mr. Daly said.

Personalizing mobile
Apps also continue to play a key role in Coca-Cola's marketing efforts.

Coca-Cola announced a new version of its Freestyle app this week, which lets consumers mix up their favorite flavors to create a unique drink.


The new Freestyle app

The app integrates into the Freestyle devices that feature a bar code that can be scanned. The QR code tells the machine the flavors to mix together, and the drink is made.

According to Mr. Daly, the new app is an example of how mobile is helping Coca-Cola’s manufacturing business in addition to the consumer-facing side of the brand.

“Here is a way to introduce mobile technology — fairly sophisticated mobile technology — into a wildly sophisticated piece of cold drink-fountain technology in a way that enhances the experience for the consumer, for the retailer who has these Freestyle machines and the Coca-Cola business who is giving consumers something that we could never manufacture,” Mr. Daly said. “We can make it possible through this technology.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Strategy, Tom Daly, Coca Cola, mobile, mobile marketing

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