The Strategy Behind Coca-Cola’s Offense on Obesity and Attitudes

15 Jan


               The branding factory that is Coca-Cola has popped the cap off a pair of highly strategic campaigns this week aimed at two different audiences but with one over-arching goal—changing attitudes.

                 First, there is the very bold and highly focused commercial taking on the weighty issue of obesity.  The 2-minute spot is an expensive piece of real estate on U.S. television, but in it Coke confronts head-on the growing conversation about the role sugary soft drinks may or may not play in the nation’s obesity epidemic.

                 Like any smart and engaging company, Coca-Cola has done its environmental scanning and clearly sees the risks evolving in the marketplace.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s assault on large serving size beverages is just the beginning of what could possibly be a disruptive series of regulations and consumer backlash.

                 Coke’s new ad called “Coming Together” has a simple message:  Obesity comes from too many calories and not enough exercise.  While Coke admits it is part of the problem, it also holds that it’s part of the solution.  The message put’s them clearly in the middle of the national conversation.  

Figure 1 - Google Trends data for Coca-Cola and Obesity

Figure 1 – Google Trends data for Coca-Cola and Obesity

                The campaign is strategic not just in its message but its placement.  The ad aired on the evening cable news networks of MSNBC, Fox, and CNN.  Not only would the ad likely be seen by government decision makers and regulators, it knew the networks would also view it as a news story thereby exponentially extending the message’s reach.  The resulting attention created instant growth in internet searches for both Coke and obesity (Figure 1), and according to Alexa visits to Coke’s website grew 40-percent.


                 In its second campaign this week, Coke takes an equally strategic tract but with a different goal.   This time coke gets back to its by roots and core brand promise of sharing happiness.   But in this whimsical spot by Oglivy Brazil, the sharing is of random acts of kindness.  Strategically targeted toward ethnic urban dwellers, Coke extends its already powerful brand by encouraging people to share something other than a Coke. 

                 Two examples of how strong brands can use their equity and loyalty to not only create conversations, but to affect attitudes and behaviors that reinforce the brand’s core values.

2 Responses to “The Strategy Behind Coca-Cola’s Offense on Obesity and Attitudes”

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  1. The Best Super Bowl Ads That Did NOT Air During The Game « Stand by… - February 11, 2013

    […] encouraging people to conduct random acts of happiness.  I’ve written in a previous post about Coca-Cola experimenting with this strategy in South America.  In the Super Bowl’s first quarter, Coke gave us a new U.S. 30-second version of the same […]

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