LESSONS FROM COCA-COLA Part 6; Out-of-the-Box

It isn’t enough to think outside the box.

Thinking is Passive.

Get used to ACTING outside the box.

-Tim Ferris, business author


Today, we celebrate the ends of the Lessons From Coca-cola series with a look back over some of their most creative campaigns. How do you, think outside the box? On today’s Straight Shot Marketing Podcast


Welcome everyone to this, final episode in the Lessons From Coca-cola series. We’ve started at the beginning and followed Coke through their business history, pulling lessons that business owners and marketing professionals can use to this day. From the invention of couponing to the importance of their brand to the United States military to the rise and fall of New Coke during the Cola Wars and today, today we are going to take a quick walk through some of their most creative, out-of-the-box campaigns.


Coca-cola has been VERY creative and VERY out of the box in the last few years. So a lot of what we are going to show you are fairly recent.


That’s where we are in the timeline.


Right! it is, so we are going to talk through some of the brilliant marketing that coke has done in the past decade or so. I want to start with one of the earliest examples that we have to share today. Do you remember the Santa Claus episode? And the Santa holiday marketing campaigns that coke started back in the last 1920s/early 1930s?

Sure we discussed it in the Solidifying The Brand episode of the series. Where we discussed the myth that Coca-cola invented Santa Claus.


Right, and we also discussed why they decided to embark on seasonal advertising for the holidays, to begin with. Several of our examples today will be set in the holiday backdrop but the success of their Christmas related advertising also led to this one. It’s a thanksgiving ad. Jen, you want to set it up?


Here’s what they did…. They placed a Coke employee “undercover” at a fast-food restaurant. And every time someone said the words “Thank you” they gave them a free coke. Here’s how it played out:



Brilliant. It says “thank you” from coca-cola. It’s silly. It helps teach society to be polite!


And it shares happiness. Coke went on a role with the Share Happiness campaign.

In this next ad, placed a special coke machine in a college university cafeteria so they could share happiness with the student body. Let’s watch a few clips.

<play happiness machine clip>


This campaign brought smiles to many faces and became the talk of the campus. Not only that, but the experience would be embedded into the stories of those students' lives and shared with others continually thereafter.


Ok, these are feel good, let’s watch another. This one takes place in Brazil… where it is hot. They made a rolling free coke machine…and didn’t say anything… just a box truck, with a big push button. Once the first person pushed the button and received a free coke, it became a magnet for others. Once the crowd was drawn, cool water was sprayed out of the top to cool down the crowd. Many smiles again that day.



Ok, there is one very important element to these… with all of these, Coke has the cameras rolling. That way the experiences could be shared with the entire world via social media, tv ads, their website, and more. As a viewer, when you watch these, you feel the emotions as well.


Ok, that brings up the next one… tears in your eyes folks, grab your Kleenex. This is a Christmas time video. Let’s take a look.



This video recognizes those that work hard throughout the Christmas season so that others can enjoy time and gift-giving with their families. In a truly beautiful way.


So sweet and loving…


Again, the cameras were rolling but not all of the examples are this one. Here an example of an out-of-the-box campaign for a new grip bottle they had.. it features Velcro signage that sticks to the clothes of people at a bus stop. And this is from the drinkable place holder campaign they did for Thanksgiving recently.

That brings up the Share a Coke campaign… are you going to talk about that one?


Of course.. many have seen it.. but not many know the history of the campaign.

The Share-a-Coke campaign got its start in Australia. The brand had a problem there… consumer research data showed that 50% of all Australians under the age of 30 had never tasted Coke.


So the Coca-Cola bottlers took 150 of the most popular names in the country and placed them on coke bottles, put them on the shelves, and said nothing.


The internet lit up immediately. And Coke contacted many of those that shared about their experience on Social Media to be part of the new campaign. Then they took to the media waves and invited all Australians to share a coke with their friends, showing examples from the soft launch. The campaign then took off on multiple media at the same time… it was everywhere. The success caught the new media and they started reporting on what was happening.


Australians started contacting the company wanting THEIR name on a coke if they couldn’t find it…and Coke made an event out of it. They set up big kiosks where you could get any name custom printing on a coke can.


It was so popular that they took submissions and votes on the internet as to which new names they should add to the campaign. And again, the people joined in. 65000 people submitted names or voted and 50 new names were released into the marketplace. Australia had learned of Coke and they loved it.


There was a 71% increase in consumption among their targeted demographic. 5% more people overall were drinking Coca-cola. And there was an 870% increase in Facebook traffic. Then it was rolled out in other countries.


Now let’s talk about how they’ve used technology to be creative innovations to the marketplace.

They made a Dancing Coke machine… kind of like a dance challenge video game that rewarded participants with coke and placed it in a movie theater. The machine took photos of the participants and provided a way for them to share them on social media. Gaining ever more traffic for the brand.


One of my favorites was when they shared snow with a part of the country that never sees snow. Take a look:



They placed a machine in Finland with a shovel and when you fill the machine with snow, a linked machine in China blows falling snow out of the top. The machines were linked together via video so they could wave and react to each other across the globe. The smiles on the faces in Singapore made the Finlanders wanted to give them even more snow! Again, kindness and happiness rules the world of Coca-Cola.


And they also accomplished the opposite of that. They made coke bottles out of ice… and distributed them on the beach during the summer to create special moments for the beachgoers. Now, these are the youth that Pepsi has been championing. Why go after them so much? Because they become the customers of tomorrow when they get older. Remember we discussed this is our Cola Wars episode.


They also created the first “drinkable ads”… They started by making a billboard that literally dispensed coke zero then came up with a really sophisticated way of giving people coupons, directly and personally, through Shazam music and video recognition technology and multimedia advertising. They also made 3d print ads that became cups, flyers that became straws, to tweets that provided coupons. All the ads gave Coke Zero to potential consumers.


What about the Hug Me coke machine. If you gave the machine a hug, it gave you a coke. Share the love. They also jumped in on emoticons craze with their product labels.


And then the last one we’ll go over today before the Straight Shot.. was a trick event that Coke created. This one was centered around Valentine's day. And the idea was to connect people that might be lonely at bus stops. It was a motion-activated video chat between two bus stops. People would make connections in anonymity across the video chat. Then the trick.


The bus stops were only one stop away from each other. So as they got on the bus, they would be met with the person they were just chatting with. And a coke representative was there to give them Coke to share….and to let them know, they were on candid camera.


So much love… ok let’s take a break to show some love to our sponsor and when we come back, Zachary will bring us the Straight Shot from today’s episode.



Welcome back, everyone. Before we get to the straight shot, I want to take a moment to remind you to, if you haven’t already, to subscribe to our show. Whether on Youtube, Spotify, Pandora, Apple podcasts, wherever you enjoy the show.. it helps us out if you click that subscribe button and like our videos. So please… do a girl a favor…

Ok, Zachary…lessons from today’s final episode in the Lessons From Coca-Cola series.


The Straight Shot

#1 – Be Creative. Creativity leads to interest and sharing. Keeping people’s attention on your brand. All of today’s examples from Coca-cola are great examples of how to be creative and think outside-of-the-box when it comes to communicating your brand. Creativity evokes emotion, not just information. Information alone can be boring. Make the most out of your marketing investment by being creative.


#2 Always make the most of every opportunity. Keep those video cameras rolling. Take photos. One event can become a campaign shared and expanded over months of marketing. A lot of what we saw coke do here, were one time events… that they used to fuel a full campaign on social media, tv, radio, print, and more.


#3 All of these efforts that I showed you… all feed the brand. As I’ve mentioned throughout the series, Coke is about enjoying life and sharing happiness. All of these marketing efforts fit right into that footprint. So, be true to your brand… always. That’s how it grows… grows big enough to take care of you in the long run… when you make a mistake like New Coke or have Sugar Shortages because of the next world war.


#4. There are traditions in various cultures that make it easy for you to connect with others. Seasonal advertising isn’t just for Christmas. There are several seasons throughout that year that you can use the connect with your audience. Holidays like Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving, but also Summer, Winter, Football season, and more. Also, the emoticon craze was here for a season, the dance dance revolution fad was here for a season… keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground. There are opportunities everywhere for you to make a connection, stir emotions, build your brand through creating experiences for your audience.


So, now comes the conclusion of the Lessons From Coca-Cola series on Straight Shot Marketing Podcast. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. Let us know your favorite lessons in the comments. Things that have meant something to you and your business. If there is a company you would like for us to explore like we did Coke here, let us know. If there are valuable lessons to be had… it could end up on a future episode of Straight Shot Marketing Podcast… Bye.


Category Straight Shot Marketing Podcast


Reformation Productions is a full service marketing agency in the Atlanta, GA metro. To find out more about the agency  visit www.ReformationProductions.com. Connect with us on Facebook at fb.com/reformationproductions. Blog content is © Reformation Productions. To receive more marketing tips and insights, sign up for our newsletter, Straight Shot, at www.ReformationProductions.com/contact.html to be one of the first to know when they are published here at www.ReformationProductions.com. You can also sign up for notifications by texting "Reformation" to 90210 from your mobile phone.