- The Coca-Cola Co. developed a new digital promotion called NCAA March Madness Bracket Refresh that is designed to drive loyalty for both its Coca-Cola and Powerade brands while supporting the company’s sponsorship of the college basketball tournament, the company revealed in a press release.
- The promotion appears to be one of the first under a new digitally focused loyalty program, replacing the previous iteration called MyCokeRewards. For the promotion, fans who are loyalty members can earn a team in a digital tournament bracket game each time they scan a product code, either by using their phone or by entering the code online. Scanning also earns members digital content, movie gift cards, online retailer gift cards and an entry into a sweepstakes.
- Continuing the digital focus for Coca-Cola’s marketing around NCAA this year, the brand is offering limited-edition bottles customized with team names that can be purchased from ShareACoke.com.
Coca-Cola, like many big brands, continues to try to find the right balance of traditional and digital marketing investment. While it is clear that consumers are spending more time on digital channels, marketers are struggling to prove the value of digital strategies and to find the best approach for specific brands.
The NCAA Bracket Refresh promotion is interesting because it provides one of the first concrete examples of how Coca-Cola’s revamped loyalty scheme will work. While product codes previously had to be manually input, now they can be scanned by a phone, underscoring the ubiquity of smartphones and scanning. The pivot to make scanning a part of the program follows similar moves by General Mills and Pepsi.
The NCAA effort’s focus on e-commerce underscores how providing direct-to-consumer online shopping opportunities is a priority for CPG brands as more consumers shop online, something Oreo, Cheetos and others have done of late. These efforts often involve unique and limited-edition products as a way to build excitement and create social sharing opportunities. For example, the commemorative 8-oz. glass bottles with team logos, nicknames and battle cries for more than 50 colleges are a first from Coca-Cola and are likely to appeal to NCAA as well as brand fans alike.
A key goal for both the loyalty and the e-commerce strategies is likely collecting data about the brand’s most loyal customer that can be used to help Coca-Cola better tailor is digital marketing efforts in the future.