Coke Extends BET Partnership Into the Store


Coca-Cola's ongoing partnership with Black Entertainment Television (BET) speaks to the brand's emphasis on engaging and growing its share among African-American teens.

Of course, Coke is far from alone in making this demographic a priority target audience, for a number of reasons. African-American teens not only spend $96 more per month than the average teen, but exert far-reaching influence on mainstream cultural trends, points out Seth Freeman, senior brand manager, sparkling beverages, African-American marketing for Coca-Cola North America. Furthermore, the Coca-Cola Company estimates that roughly 86% of its growth going forward will come from Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian Americans, he says.

BET -- and its "106 & Park" program, in particular (which has been the #1-rated music variety show for 13 consecutive quarters) -- have been "pillars" in Coke's outreach to African-American teens for several years now, confirms Freeman.



For instance, in summer 2009, Coke ran a "What's Your Formula" campaign in which BET viewers were encouraged to submit videos (to demonstrating how they express their uniqueness. The winner received a trip to the show's set in New York City.

This summer, the brand is building on the BET partnership in a number of ways, including a first: an under-the-cap (UTC) "Twist Txt Win" contest designed both to drive Coke purchases and engage buyers. Consumers text (or submit online) codes found under caps of 20-ounce Coke bottles for chances to win prizes. (Codes can also be obtained without purchase by following mail-in and online code-request procedures.)

"Instant win" prizes, such as Best Buy gift certificates, movie passes and airfare savers, are being rewarded every two minutes. The 10 grand prizes are trips for two to New York for a taping of "106 & Park." Live Nation VIP concert trip packages will also be awarded.

In addition to continuing to host the studio "Red Room" used for "Wild-Out Wednesday" ("W.O.W.") -- the highly popular weekly talent show aired by "106 & Park" -- this summer (through Aug. 25), Coke is the sole sponsor of "W.O.W."

That sponsorship includes multiple promotional opportunities for the "Twist Txt Win" contest, including on-air mentions, having the contestants perform in front of a Coke-branded set, and a Coke-branded "W.O.W." photo gallery and exclusive video footage (plus a branded "vote for your favorite performer" button) in the "W.O.W" area of BET's site. Coke also has dominant banner ads and other ad formats promoting the contest throughout the BET site -- all of which provide a link to enter at

In the few weeks since the "Twist Txt Win" contest launched in late June, more than 100,000 codes have been entered, a Freeman tells Marketing Daily.

Coke also sponsored the "Viewer's Choice Award" within BET's annual music and entertainment awards, which this year aired on June 26.

Viewers who texted or logged into to vote for the Coca-Cola Viewer's Choice Award were directed to for chances to win additional prizes -- and an impressive 2.4 million viewers elected to vote via mobile texting or online, according to Freeman.

The marketing synergies provided by the award sponsorship did not end after the awards show: One of Coke's ads-with-entry-link for the "Twist Txt Win" contest is prominently displayed in the page about the Viewer's Choice winner, Chris Brown.

All of the BET components are integrated under Coca-Cola's umbrella "Open Happiness" theme -- or more specifically, its "Open Happiness for Teens" marketing programs. The contest and other elements celebrate "the passion that teens have for music, BET and Coca-Cola, and give them a chance to experience one of the coolest shows on television," sums up Freeman. "Open Happiness is all about enjoying Coke and unlocking experiences that teens couldn't unlock without Coke."

While the BET partnership is the dominant element in Coke's marketing outreach to African-American teens, its "American Idol" marketing tie-ins are among other important channels for reaching teens, including multicultural segments, according to Freeman.

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