Coke as a brand has been very successful at sharing how its brand is about getting people together and sharing experiences.
For the last 5 years they have performing experimental marketing campaigns, often at the vending machine level, and then sharing those video moments on digital marketing channels to activate their base. It shows that for many brands, after one has been established, your identity can transcend branding elements / identity, and become more metaphorical about the essence or feel of the product itself.
The most recent campaign requires that two coke consumers have to engage together to open the soda itself. The result of documenting this action creates user generated content, when curated appropriately tells the larger story about coke being used to bring people together for a more full life.
Here is another example they came out with in the last few years that asked users to dance to get a coke. This had a bit more “viral” because it attracted crowds, thus became a larger spectacle.
Although Coke has a lot of capital for developing campaigns, really any brand can come up with creative ways for users to use their product and tell that story. Their are always emotional and rational bits of a brands story. It is up to the creative and marketing team to find fresh perspectives to tell a brands story and how to engage their prospects and fans.
Many brands are relying more on earned media to make waves within their community. The two main reasons for this is because consumers are tired of traditional media, but also creative content is also more sharable, and thus has a wider reach.
Either way, if Coke can put a smile on your face while you are looking at their product, they are one step closer to getting you to remembering their product the next time you are faced with a choice of what beverage to buy.
As a Brand matures, they begin to diversify. The brand architecture becomes less about corporate colors and identity, and more about a brand experience and lifestyle. Pepsi has been embracing this strategy with its “Max” line, proudly encouraging fans to carpe diem.
Damien Walters has been a youtube sensation for a few years now. Below is his 2011 showreel. He has bee a figurehead in the freerunning and pakour community for quite some time.
In addition to seeing Pepsi continue to evolve as a brand, the other thing worth mentioning here is how they are using celebrity talent for brand transference. Youtube is rapidly becoming a place for talent discovery and recruitment. As the web has given a voice to everyman, talent and quality content is accessible to all. Some brands like Pepsi have moved into content creation using youtube sensations to draw a larger buzz on social media.
I think this campaign is a win-win. Damien Walters gets to showcase his amazing talent to a larger audience, and Pepsi continues to expand its social capital to a younger generation with an exciting new ad campaign. This campaign speaks to the future of brands becoming their own syndication channels of user curated talent.
“The Pepsi Like machine” in addition to being buzzworthy makes really good business sense. Lets look at this from a math perspective.
According to 2 different sources ( link 1 Link 2 ) the cost of a “fan” is over a dollar. One says 1-7 dollars, another says way over 100, but lets skip over all the different methodologies and say its over a buck – this way we get to agree on the main insight rather then the details of why the research is wrong. So, what is the cost of a soda ? Maybe 75 cents, or 1.25 ? The beauty of the coke like machine is that people are opting into a loyalty program for a free sample. The cost of giving away that soda is equal or less then the amount of dollars they would have spent to gain that fan. Additionally, the documentation of this stunt by pepsi translated into earned media dollars ( via viral video and blog editorials ) which is bound to give pepsi an edge in awareness and brand equity – that is… free advertising.
This was a great execution of digital marketing moving its way into physical computing that makes sense. They are also very lucky that they are some of the first ( not the first ) to ask people to trade their social capital for real assets. Because if everyone starts to ask fans to like their product for a free, people will start to value their privacy more then the transaction that occurs. A reverse tipping point comes into play between free stuff and privacy.
The other interesting thing here to note is that documentation has make this appear to be a huge campaign when this really just occured at once concert. Lets say it only had a reach of 100 ( I have no data to back this up). The video of this campaign itself far exceeded the actual number of people that got free product. This is where many guerilla marketing campaigns have gone where they set up a special campaign to reach only a few ( 007 promotion comes to mind (coke )) and most of the effort is spent on sharing this story throughout social networks in place of paid media. It really shows an interesting trend in how marketing dollars are moving from paid medias to earned and owned networks.