Coke Capitalizes On Social Media Buzz


Coca-Cola is free. No, not in calories or caffeine, but the media that fans generate about the brand.

Michael Donnelly, the Atlanta-based company's group director of worldwide interactive marketing, speaking at the ANA's Social Media conference in New York on Thursday, said fan-generated content and commentary costs nothing, and is a major benefit of using social media. The company, which fields 500 brands worldwide in some 206 countries, is putting a lot of attention on how to do that as efficiently as possible in its various markets.

Donnelly says the company, which has a group of 30 people in its global interactive group with only four focused on social media, has created a program called KO Social Hub. He says the program, whose first two initials stand for Coke's stock ticker symbol, will be a social media tool kit that any of Coca-Cola's 3,500 marketers around the world can use locally to create programs.



"We are creating common solutions," he says. "My job isn't to run programs; my job is to give marketers platforms that make it possible to run thousands of programs." He adds that the idea is to make it easier for marketers in different countries to reach local cohorts of Coca-Cola's 7 million fans across dozens of social-media sites. He also says that the "On Facebook alone, we get 5,000 mentions per day, 99.2% of which is popular."

Donnelly says the biggest challenge is the "science of scale." He says KO Social Hub is intended to provide tools across the Coca-Cola enterprise. "So marketers don't have to worry about technology, but can leverage scalable assets -- our 7 million fans. We are trying to build back-end solutions so we can leverage these assets," he says. "If you were to create a Facebook and YouTube page for every country in which you market, then moderate and run those pages, you will be doing a $30 to $40 million investment; Our strategy is to have a single presence, central pages so that no matter where you are in the world, when you pull up YouTube/Coca-Cola, you get a country-local social page."

Coca-Cola is also extending consumer-created video series, such as the "Dusty and Michael" series. "They were two creators of a fan page on Facebook," he says. "One is an actor, one's a writer. Rather than buying or taking over their program, we chose to do something different: we co-administer the page with these two guys. Will it move the needle for Coca-Cola? Probably not, but we have done about 13 short videos like this and will put them out through the course of the year. They are very real, by two fans who created the page."

The company is in the midst of a social-media campaign using digital crowd sourcing to determine what happens next. Called Expedition 206, the effort let consumers vote for which three ambassadors would travel to 206 countries in the course of 365 days "generating happiness." The program is half over, and crowd sourcing also determines what they do in each country.

The latest consumer content effort is around the fourth anniversary of the Mentos and Diet Coke "geyser" video. The company helped produce a new video using Coke Zero and Mentos to propel a man hundreds of feet. "It's nearly impossible to create viral videos, but their first video has been seen well over 100 million times and still thousands of times per week. We have tried to emulate that."

3 comments about "Coke Capitalizes On Social Media Buzz".
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  1. James Stock from PSPA, July 16, 2010 at 11:34 a.m.

    Social Media promotion is becoming more popular medium infact number of users using facebook is higher than those using Google.

  2. Sharon Baumeyer from, July 16, 2010 at 1:48 p.m.

    By making social media part of their plan, it show coca-cola listens to their consumers. Their strategy to have a single presence across the country. I love their brilliant new campaign Called Expedition 206, the effort let consumers vote for which three ambassadors would travel to 206 countries in the course of 365 days "generating happiness."

    Sharon Baumeyer

  3. Eric Steckel from Turnpike Digital, July 16, 2010 at 5:08 p.m.

    Coke really succeeded with their celebration of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They did a great job of getting folks to create their own "Goal Celebrations" and post them to the Coke YouTube Channel. They were one of the brands to really leverage their investment in Partnership with FIFA. Well done.

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