Coke Targets Teens With Its First All-Digital Effort

Coke-Ahh-site-menu-image-B2In an all-out initiative to engage teens, Coca-Cola has launched its first all-digital (well, nearly all-digital) campaign, dubbed “The AHH Effect.” 

The initiative -- intended to be multi-year -- seeks to involve teens through a variety of “snackable” digital content, ranging from videos and GIFs that are consumed in seconds to games that engage them for longer periods.

The content was designed mainly for teens’ “first screen” -- their mobile phone (or tablet), but it will also be accessible by desktop through the initiative’s destination site,, explained Pio Schunker, SVP of integrated marketing communications for Coca-Cola North America, during a press event announcing the initiative.



The campaign is starting with 17 “experiences” created by Coke and agency partner Wieden + Kennedy, ranging from games like “Guide the Bubble” to videos (e.g., a “happy dance” and cats playing with Coke boxes) to an area devoted to Coke founder Doc Pemberton “shushing” things. 

Coke will be pumping up the content through partnerships with a roster of media partners (including Smosh, Alloy, BuzzFeed, Twitter and Facebook), and by involving organizations comprising students, artists, gamers, musicians and other creative types. 

Most important, it will be recruiting teens, through social networks, to create their own “experiences” -- 25 of which will be selected to have their own AHH Effect destinations/URLs. Coke has begun running a 15-second teaser video “in all places teens consume digital content,” Schunker reported. 

In all, there will be up to 61 Web URLs, each offering a specific experience, and each continually updated to provide “an element of surprise” -- but all with one unifying theme: Coke as “the ultimate in refreshment,” he said.

The approach is based on extensive research with teens, which revealed that the more “fun,” “random” and interactive the activity, the more teens engaged with the brand, Schunker summed up.

Coke and W+K will conduct biweekly site analysis to determine what’s working and what’s not. Popular, widely shared experiences will be used as models to create more like them (the experiences will be “optimized” over time by figuring out what aspect of the product or brand is most salient in the successful content). At the same time, low-performing content will be “jettisoned,” Schunker said. 

As a result, Coke expects “to end up in a completely different place from where [it] started,” he said, adding that the brand expects the approach to continue and evolve over multiple years.

The relatively minor, non-digital elements will include exposure for The AHH Effect in movie theaters, theme parks and convenience stores (one of the experiences is a co-branded Coke/7-Eleven video showing Coke’s new “chill-activated” cans). In addition, 16- and 20-ounce bottles of Coke will feature promotions driving consumers to the AHH URLs.

1 comment about "Coke Targets Teens With Its First All-Digital Effort".
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  1. Karl House from DECA, April 24, 2013 at 1:32 p.m.

    Nice piece. FYI - "Smosh", not "Smash" .

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