Coca-Cola is 2014 Mobile Marketer of the Year, the highest accolade in mobile advertising, marketing and media. The honor tops the Mobile Marketer Awards handed out each year for outstanding work that moved the mobile needle for brands and marketers. Here is the list of all the 2014 honorees.
At a time when many other marketers are still testing the mobile waters, Coca-Cola has made a major commitment to infusing mobile throughout its efforts around the world. Many of the firms global marketing programs give mobile a central role, with the added step of localizing how mobile is leveraged to the preferences of each market.
"Coca-Cola has demonstrated remarkable consistency in purpose in deploying mobile to meet its branding and marketing goals," said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.
"Few marketers worked their 360-degree mobile marketing plans the way Coca-Cola did in 2014, putting them head and shoulders above their peers," he said. "This honor is well deserved and its reason worth emulating by brands and retailers of all stripes."
Starbucks is the first runner's-up for the 2014 Mobile Marketer of the Year and Marriott International is the second runner's-up.
The mobile way
Coca-Cola has proven time and time again that it is a force to reckon with in mobile marketing and advertising through its targeting of Hispanics on mobile, use of second-screen strategies, successful creative campaigns and how it moves quickly to embrace new tactics such as augmented reality and beacons.
One of Coca-Colas big wins in 2014 was its Share A Coke program, which was expanded into the United States for the first time in 2014.
Coca-Cola took an iconic campaign featuring singers on a hilltop and updated it via a more personal, mobile-focused experience, resulting in one of the most successful campaigns of the summer.
Consumers in many markets were encouraged to buy a Coke with names popular in those markets on the label and could scan a QR code to get a coupon. The program was localized in other ways.
In China, a shareable experience via popular social application WeChat was built in, while in Britain there was a digital application for tracking down bottles with specific names.
As a digital extension of the Share a Coke campaign, Coca-Cola entered into its first social commerce foray with the introduction of a Twitter program that enabled users to send a soft drink to their friends for $5.
By updating its marketing strategy for a mobile-savvy consumer, Coca-Cola drove an 11.8 percent brand lift, according to Networked Insights data.
Bridging physical, digital divide
In an example of how Coca-Cola is rounding out its digital investments with physical assets to make the most of in-store experiences, the brand tested a line of interactive refrigerators integrated with augmented reality and mobile technology.
Coca-Cola is also availing itself of the growing trend toward Wi-Fi use by smartphone owners by enabling wireless connectivity through branded vending machines in two communities in South Africa.
While some marketers are testing beacons for in-store engagement, Coca-Cola took a different approach that put it more in control of the experience and equipped its World of Coca-Cola attraction with beacons this summer that work with a new mobile application for unlocking location-based content around specific areas.
One of the companys more creative uses of mobile marketing this year redefined outdoor advertising by putting actual rainbows over a city building and billboards and, as a result, built positive brand perceptions via the many consumers taking photos with their mobile phones and sharing them on social media.
Coca-Cola also leveraged the promotional potential of mobile in a campaign with Home Depot and Makita that enabled shoppers to snap a picture of a Home Depot receipt showing either a Coca-Cola or a Makita purchase for a chance to win a trip to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Additionally, Coca-Cola is paying close attention to how video consumption is growing on mobile, with the company looking into building video streaming channels in India as an alternative to television ads just one example of this.
First Runner's-up: Starbucks
Starbucks mobile loyalty and payments strategy is a clear success and continues to grow, but the coffee shop chain is a strong mobile marketer in other ways as well. The marketer continues to push the envelope on SMS with fun campaigns that leverage rich media to engage and entertain customers. This year it also pushed further into using mobile in-store with a new mobile ordering strategy and plans for an iBeacon implementation.
Second Runner's-up: Marriott International
Marriott International is leading the way in leveraging popular mobile messaging app Snapchat for marketing and advertising purposes. It also introduced a response Web design strategy to meet the needs of users across devices and integrated iBeacons to help leverage mobile to meet the needs of guests.
Here are the winners of the nine other Mobile Marketer Awards:
Mobile Advertiser of the Year: Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is shifting its focus to mobile and social strategies while stepping back from traditional media, a strategy that was evident in ads with a new format that mirror sponsored content often found on Facebook. While other marketers continue to struggle with how to tap into the real-time conversations happening on mobile, P&G appeared to find the right formula with a campaign for Tide during that Super Bowl that sent out bits of video on Vine incorporating other brands TV spots during the game.
Mobile Publisher of the Year: USA Today
USA Today did not just pay lip service to mobile in 2014 but aggressively embraced it across many facets of its organization, helping drive a 60 percent jump in mobile visitors. It revamped its mobile platform for high school sports coverage, relaunched a gaming platform, leveraged Twitter and Yo for election coverage and introduced an app to deliver customized content to college students.
Mobile Agency of the Year: Fetch
Fetch is a quickly growing London-based agency that focuses exclusively on mobile and was acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network in 2014. With clients such as eBay, Warner Bros. and Hotels.com, the agency is increasingly a strategic partner or lead agency as companies take mobile more seriously.
Mobile Researcher of the Year: Forrester Research
Forrester Research consistently puts out reports that not only underscore the significant ways that mobile is changing how companies conduct business but also ring the warning bell for those who choose to overlook mobiles disruptive force. At the same time, it offers the kind of tactical insight that can help all marketers, no matter how novice or sophisticated, do a better job in mobile.
Mobile Program of the Year: Lord & Taylors beacons
Lord & Taylor was one of several retailers that quickly jumped onboard with beacons in 2014. The department store chains program is a winner because Lord & Taylor worked with proximity-based mobile marketing platform vendor Swirl to build its own branded content that could be delivered through third-part applications such as SnipSnap using in-store beacons.
Mobile Campaign of the Year: Showtime's Homeland
Too often mobile advertising is still just a shrunk-down version of a desktop campaign and does not take advantage of mobiles unique capabilities. But not Showtimes Homeland campaign, which leveraged haptic technology for an interactive experience that vibrated and shook during suspenseful moments of the season premiere trailer, pointing the way for how other brands can create more exciting mobile ads.
Mobile Web Site of the Year: USA Today
While mobile performance continues to be an issue for many Web sites, USA Todays mobile traffic is growing quickly, pointing to the benefits of adaptive Web design, which enables the publisher to deliver digital experiences tailored for each device, thereby ensuring mobile users can quickly access the latest news. The site has also begun to run new native takeover ad units from brands such as The History Channel and Netflix that are noticeable and engaging while providing an easy way to skip them or get more information.
Mobile Application of the Year: Instagram
There are several quickly growing mobile social apps, but 2014 was the year that Instagram went from being one of the also-rans to a bona fide force in its own right. In a year when selfie fever burned hot, Instagram was the place where both consumers and marketers wanted to be. At the same time, Instagram continued to add new features and capabilities, proving that it can evolve with the times and intends to hand around for a while.
Mobile Evangelist of the Year: Tom Daly, global chief of mobile, Coca-Cola
As the executive responsible for spearheading Coca-Colas mobile strategy, Tom Daly is on the frontline of how mobile is transforming marketing every day. Mr. Daly is quick to share his knowledge with other marketers, making him a visible and significant force in driving mobile advertising and marketing forward. In particular, this year he has encouraged marketers to begin to scale up what is working in mobile.
Final Take Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
News Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at email@example.com.