For Coke, campaigns have always been an important part of its branding strategy.
Consumers around the world can instantly identify the red and white logo of Coca-Cola. Few brands have succeeded in having such a strong rapport globally. In Nepal, the cold drink has been most commonly associated with Coca-Cola. This has been made famous by it’s brand tagline ‘Chiso Bhanekai Coca-Cola’. Effective branding elevates a product or organisation from being just one commodity amongst many identical commodities, to become something with a unique character and promise.
For Coke, campaigns have always been an important part of its branding strategy. One such campaign that was well received by audiences globally was the ‘Open Happiness’ campaign. Throughout its history, Coke has continued to try to express a refreshingly positive view of the world. The ‘Open Happiness’ campaign too was built on that same heritage, reminding people that coke is always there to offer that small moment of fun and refreshment with the difficulties and stress of modern day life.
Launched in the first half of 2009, the ‘Open Happiness’ campaign was created by Wieden & Kennedy with the primary goal of increasing the sales of Coca-Cola. In 2005, the sales volume of Coke for the very first time since 1985 had slipped by 2 percent worldwide. At a time when sales of soft drinks in all of the economies were slipping, the “Open Happiness’’ campaign came as a breath of fresh air by inviting people around the world to refresh themselves with a coke and not miss out on some of the most simple pleasures of life. Unlike the preceding campaign ‘Coke side of life’ which proved tough to translate across the globe and didn't provide a clear call to action, this campaign was well received by the audience globally and included a stronger call to action in the tagline. Coke put in immense marketing efforts to make this campaign a huge success. The campaign used smiling happy faces with a can or bottle of Coke and went beyond the traditional marketing (commercial, banner advertisements, print media and radio advertisements) campaigns by using unique promotion tactics. It made a lot of music videos by some of the top singers in the music industry along with integrating lovely visual concepts with some fascinating music composed for the campaign. Moreover, this campaign is one of the most successful campaigns in history given its unique promotion tactics giving it leverage such as the ‘Happiness Truck’, ‘Happiness Vending Machines’ and the ‘Hug Machine’. This campaign tried to connect with customers by using everyday people in their ads along with celebrities. This meant that people could connect with the message better as they could see some part of themselves in the people portrayed in the advertisements.
It further tried to strengthen the connection by asking customers to vote on various competitions and asked them for feedback about its commercials. This connection was instant in the age of technology as Coca-Cola leveraged digital media techniques like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. to keep the brand relevant in people’s minds and their music in their souls. Although audiences could easily emotionally connect to this message with optimism and goodwill, this campaign evoked mixed responses globally. While some felt that this was the perfect strategy for connecting with customers, some felt that it lacked the power to influence people to drink Coke.
However, the 2010 financials of Coke did show some encouraging facts as it saw a 13 percent rise in the net operating revenue and a 73 percent change in the net income of the shareholders (Source: Coca-Cola 2010 Annual Review). Overall, it saw a 5 percent worldwide volume growth and was ranked as the leading brand in the world with a brand value of USD 70,452 million as per Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands 2010. Similarly, it was also found that 89 servings of Coke were consumed by people worldwide. It is hard to deny that this brand is one of the few brands that seems to own the branding world. Even though it has faced a few downfalls along the way, Coke’s marketing campaigns throughout history have always been exciting, fresh and noteworthy. Its unique approach to branding has ensured that it will always remain in the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life.
Prepared by Kalithia Investment and Research Pvt Ltd.