Strategic Planning At A Glance – Coca-Cola

As I’ve stated in the past, Coca-Cola is, without a doubt, the cream of the crop with marketing campaigns. A few months back, I discussed how they did it again with a wildly successful social media campaign in Colombia. If you need a refresher:

  • It’s the first day of classes on a college campus and nervous freshmen are walking about; faces in their phones with the hope that someone will come up to them and start a conversation.
  • Coca-Cola puts up a machine of special Coke bottles that require a unique mechanism: join the smart cap with another to unlock and open (and yes, this required going up to somebody else that had one) the bottle.
  • Kids are opening bottles and starting conversations, making friends, and feeling better about themselves.
  • In the end, nearly 9.7 million views, hundreds of thousands of Facebook shares, and 5,000+ subscriptions later, this once again proves that Coca-Cola can do no wrong.

I have already talked about the content creation/curation strategy and how it has helped the soft drink giant excel in its campaign. But this is just one part of its success. With every great campaign comes a plan. This plan consists of business goals that the company creates to ensure that their social media campaign is successful, and in the case of the “Friendly Twist” campaign for Coca-Cola, their goals were as follows:

  • To sell their product
  • To reinforce their theme of bringing people together with a can or bottle of soda
  • To create engagement amongst the fans on social media with the hashtag #FriendlyTwist, especially on Twitter

The opportunity that was present is that college students are a fairly easy market to target to because of the fact that college students are more than likely all going through the same things no matter where they are, and what better moment than the first day of classes? Nobody knows each other, and the ones that do know each other are grouped up with their friends already, leaving others without friends alone to wonder if there is, perhaps, something wrong with them or if they have something stuck in their teeth because no one has approached them yet. Coca-Cola has jumped on this opportunity that was practically standing right in front of them to reach out to a brand new target audience and produce content based on a very common issue that they can relate to.

So how exactly might have Coca-Cola come to this? It helps to consider some research questions:

  • What downsides of college can students relate to, and how can Coca Cola incorporate their efforts into this?
  • Look at similar videos of heartwarming moments; how do these fare out in terms of popularity amongst viewers?
  • How can the brand successfully reinforce their message without being too old-fashioned, or creating a method that seems dated in comparison with similar campaigns?

These questions seem to be the most significant for the prior planning of the campaign.

Overall, this is proof that no good campaign was ever created without some extensive research and planning beforehand. Coca-Cola continues to be a fine example of how companies should act and plan ahead when coming up with campaign ideas for their brand.


A “Friendly Twist” To An Intimidating Situation

Coca-Cola, arguably the most popular soda brand in the world, has almost never failed at creating advertising campaigns to sell their products worldwide. From the beloved “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” ad to the iconic “Always Coca-Cola” campaign, the company always finds new and exciting ways to optimize their brand and tap into the human psyche by appealing to the emotions. As Tina Chohan says, Coca-Cola’s continuous marketing strategies “keeps the brand message alive, the campaigns back up its ideology and it forces people not to forget them as the leaders who bring “happiness” to their consumers [1]. With the rise and popularity of social media, creating advertising campaigns has never been more exciting. It’s no wonder why it still reigns supreme as the #1 soft drink in the game.

With that in mind, I want to talk about a blast from the past: one of Coca-Cola’s recent campaigns of the 2010s that utilizes social media.

Created in conjunction with the Colombia branch of the Leo-Burnett advertising agency in 2014, Coca-Cola created this Youtube advertisement that takes place in a college campus on the first day of school. It sets the scene perfectly: freshmen are walking around campus and they have a desire to meet new people. The only problem is, they do not know how; whether it is due to anxiety or simply not knowing what to say, they are stumped so as a result, they either sit on their phones or sit alone hoping someone will come up to them and strike a conversation with them.
Taking this situation into account, LB-C created this ingenious campaign by featuring a fridge full of Coke bottles, only with “smart” caps; they could not be opened by one student alone. The key to these caps was that they had to be linked to another smart cap to be unlocked and opened – meaning one student had to pair up with another to get them to open.
With 5,000+ subscriptions to the Coca-Cola Youtube channel, 160,000+ likes and shares on Facebook [2], and 9.6 million views and counting on the video alone, this advertisement was a huge success. Aside from these statistics, though, why else was this campaign a hit with the masses?

For starters, it helps to discuss their content creation/curation strategy. Take into consideration that Coca-Cola has always embraced the idea that a simple can or bottle of soda can really bring people together. For college students, making friends is tough especially on the first day of school. These two concepts can easily blend together in perfect harmony, which is why college students were the target audience for this campaign. The persuasive messaging strategy that was used was that of pathos, or an emotional appeal. They want to be able to relate to their target audience in a way that will get them thinking and talking. Plus, that people love to watch heartwarming videos plays a key part in the creation of the content in this campaign; in this case, a Youtube video. Pretty neat, right?

The impact that this campaign has made is extraordinary, to say the very least. In fact, searching the hashtag #FriendlyTwist on Twitter yields the most recent results from 2015; all positive reactions. Clearly, it’s made a very lasting impression with not just the target audience, but so many other groups of people as well. No wonder Coca-Cola is still #1!

What is your favorite social media campaign?


[1]: Jordan Skole: The Best Social Media Campaigns of All Time. December 23, 2013, last modified in 2014.

[2]: Tina Chohan: Why students love Coca-Cola’s “Friendly Twist” marketing campaign. September 16, 2014.