Giving new meaning to the term social media, Coca-Cola is enlisting a team of three young brand ambassadors to visit all 206 countries where the company's products are sold.
Dubbed "Expedition 206," the adventure throughout 2010 is expected to cover 150,000 miles in just 365 days. What are they expected to do at each destination? "Seek out what makes people happy and share their happiness and enthusiasm with the rest of the world."
Coca-Cola has selected a pool of nine potential ambassadors, from which consumers are now being asked to select three winners online at Expedition206.com.
The adventures of these so-called "happiness ambassadors" will play out online with content for fans to follow through the site, as well as on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and other social networking sites.
"The global adoption of social media has given us a way to deliver a year-long reality TV series without the TV," said Adam Brown, director of the office of digital communications and social media at Coca-Cola Co. "This mash-up of social media -- online photo galleries, video clips, blogs, microblogs, social networking ... is a great way for us to connect with people around the world."
Fans engaging with the Expedition 206 site and other interactive online content will be encouraged to serve as "virtual travel agents" for the expedition team, giving suggestions on where they go, what they do and who they visit in each market.
"It's a decidedly social program," said Joseph Jaffe, president and "Chief Interruptor" of advisory firm crayon, which assisted in the social side of the campaign. "Crayon's role thus far has been to advise and guide the program on all things 'social media' -- i.e., any and all facets of the journey that foster connections and communication between peers, participants, hosts, visitors and the brand itself."
"It's been a blast so far to work on this program," Jaffe added. "It's the kind of commitment-based marketing ... that flies in the face of fleeting 30-second spots -- and I, for one, can't wait to see what 2010 holds in store for the eventual Ambassadors."
The effort is slated to begin in Madrid on Jan. 1, 2010, and culminate with a celebration at the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta on Dec. 31, 2010.