Ahh, Coke’s New Marketing Campaign Makes Me Thirsty

This is the age of the mobile device. The days of print advertisements wane in the rearview as we now drive down the highways of the future.

In order to stay fresh and relevant, firms need to rethink their marketing strategies if they want to connect with and convert a target market that is always evolving.

And the fine folks at Coca Cola seem to have done just that.

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I don’t even drink Coke—I’m more of a water-and-coffee-drinking guy—but there I was on a Friday afternoon, staring at a virtual paper cup bearing the soft drink company’s logo. The cup was shifting back and forth across my computer screen, and I was charged with pulling back a virtual sling shot and trying to aim a virtual ice cube into the cup in order keep its virtual contents at the perfect temperature of 37 degrees.

Being a determined perfectionist, I eventually mastered the game to the point where I found out that if you made too many ice cubes, you’d freeze the drink and lose.

Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of how long I voluntarily let Coke’s logo burn into my retinas, but it was a substantial chunk of time no doubt. And I had fun allowing that to happen.

That fun little game is one of a growing arsenal of offerings made possible by what Coca Cola is calling its first all-digital marketing campaign, The Ahh Effect. (The company asserts there is only one way to describe the way the beverage makes you feel: ahh.)

“Very importantly, this is going to mark the first all-digital campaign by Coca-Cola,” says Pio Schunker, Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications at Coca-Cola North America. “And critically, this signals a whole new way in which we’ve decided to create marketing content.”

Recognizing how the advertising landscape has changed and how we’re living in a world dominated by mobile devices and the desire for interactivity, Coke decided to target and entertain teenagers, who—like the rest of us—are increasingly glued to our mobile devices. To launch the promotion, the soft drink company acquired ahh.com, ahhh.com, ahhhh.com and so on—61 domains in total which can be accessed by adding an extra h to the URL.

Anyone who knows anything about the Internet knows that for whatever reason, cute cats and kittens are all the rage these days. Coke knows this too. There’s another game where you’re tasked with looking at a close up of a photo and determining as quickly as possible whether it’s a cat or not. There are five rounds, and after you’re done, you have the option to socialize your score on Facebook or Twitter. A word to the wise: Cats equal clicks.

If you surf around the new “ahh” Coke sites as they are now, you’ll notice a lot of them are empty. That’s because Coca Cola is seeking ideas from teenagers as to what should populate these sites, which the company envisions will be live for multiple years. The soft drink powerhouse also intends to conduct biweekly reviews of how specific sites are performing, replacing those which are lagging in metrics.

So what does this mean for you? For starters, you’ve got to do your best to target your audience as organically as possible. Create the kind of content you know your audience will enjoy—content that is educational, interactive and fun. Content your audience feels is a great use of time to devour. Solicit their feedback, and craft content specifically toward them. After all, they are precisely who you are aiming to please.

In this example, Coke’s visionary marketing team understands that mobile devices aren’t going anywhere. The teenagers they targeted will find some games they like, and they’ll play them. They’ll socialize their scores on Facebook and Twitter.

Take my word for it: I know this particular marketing campaign is geared toward teenagers, and as a 29-year-old guy, I probably shouldn’t have been as entertained with the ice cube slingshot as I was.

In any case, it’s a beautiful May day, the sun is out and it’s warm, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thirsty. And I still see that virtual Coca Cola paper cup sliding back and forth in my mind’s eye.

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