Coke Previews 2013 Super Bowl Campaign

Coke-Superbowl-AdCoca-Cola is upping its own ante by “gamifying” its approach to this year’s Super Bowl, blowing out the social media and engagement elements, and dropping the highly successful polar bears-themed creative used in 2012’s big game.

The 2013 Bowl campaign, dubbed “Coke Chase,” is based on letting consumers determine the outcome of a “chase” in real time, and therefore the content of a post-Bowl commercial, by using any screen (mobile, tablet or desktop).

The creative premise of the campaign, from Weiden + Kennedy, is that three groups of people are lost in the desert -- “cowboys,” “showgirls” and “badlanders.” All spot a mirage of a thirst-quenching Coke in the distance, and commence to compete to reach it first. 



The marketing concept: Through second-screen voting -- plus the ability to “sabotage” their favorite team’s rivals -- consumers will determine who wins the Coke Chase game, with the winner and all results to be revealed in a TV spot immediately following the end of the Super Bowl.

In addition, with post-game-viewership fallout in mind, the first 50,000 consumers who engage with the brand after the game, via MyCokeRewards, will receive a free Coke, according to Coca-Cola North America CMO Allison Lewis.

The campaign, described to press in a Coca-Cola Webcast, launched Jan. 22 with the airing of a 60-second “Mirage” TV spot (on “American Idol”) that sets up the basic premise, and 30-second teaser spots across other mass-audience programs/television outlets.

That will be followed, on Jan. 23, by a YouTube takeover encouraging fans to vote/participate early to influence the ultimate outcome.

Users are directed to visit from any device (the experience has been optimized by device) to view the 60-second ad and vote for their favorite team. features bios/photos of each team’s members to help participants choose their favorite team.

They can also participate by sabotaging rival teams -- setting them back in “fun and ridiculous ways” (e.g., a stoplight, or a pizza delivery from Coke partner Domino’s Pizza --  in the middle of the desert) -- and  can then watch rival teams’ votes go down as their favored team gets closer to the finish line. Users who share the experience can unlock additional sabotages.

Pre-game, Coke is employing multiple media and social platforms (beyond those used in 2012), including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and MyCokeRewards, plus Coca-Cola media channels such as out-of-home and vending machines. Coke has created “hundreds of pieces” of content, including photos, to optimize those experiences, reported Pio Schunker, SVP integrated marketing for Coca-Cola North America.

Multiple-platform voting/sabotaging activities will continue throughout the Super Bowl, up to the closing whistle, with the results determining which of three 30-second Coke ads will air immediately following the game.

Coca-Cola’s 2013 Super Bowl campaign reflects lessons learned from its 2012 campaign, which generated some nine million second-screen consumer interactions (with an average engagement time of 28 minutes), according to Schunker.

In that campaign, the bears reacted in real-time to the Bowl game’s activities and ads, and viewers could share their reactions to the bears’ reactions via Facebook or Twitter, among other engagement activities. 

But for the 2013 Bowl campaign, Coca-Cola decided that this approach was “too passive,” and also that it had missed opportunities to follow up with the participants, said Schunker.

The marketing team also consciously decided to take a risk with a new creative theme, despite the polar bears’ theme’s success, Schunker said. “After much discussion, we chose to walk away from [the polar bears]” to avoid the “temptation” or “trap-door” of a sequel, he said. Furthermore, C-C learned that it had used a creative theme (the bears) in such a way as to make it difficult to follow up with that theme through the year.

The 2013 Super Bowl campaign -- which despite rumors, apparently does not include one of Coca-Cola’s new anti-obesity ads -- is intended to solidify the “brand credentials” behind Coke’s “Open Happiness” theme and so set the stage for its overall 2013 campaign, Schunker and Lewis said.

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