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The Art of Engagement: The Coca-Cola Difference

Ultimately, a good viral guerrilla marketing campaign promotes a brand or product in an unconventional way that engages customers outside of ineffective, outdated traditional media which has saturated the market and which the general populous has learned to tune out. It needs to make the brand attractive to old and new customers alike, and needs to set itself apart from the competition as distinctively different.

One company that particularly excels at this is Coca-Cola. I’m sure most people can remember the last time a Coke advertisement put a smile on their face or got them a little choked up. But can you remember the last time that Pepsi did that? The main difference is that Coke connects, it makes an emotional impact, and it engages its market-base.

Knowing that your website is completely optimized for search engine visibility is one thing, however, engagement is another. Engagement not only promotes brand awareness, but also builds brand loyalty. These days, in order for an advertisement to capture our attention, we need to be shocked, surprised, and impressed.

Of course Red Bull’s Stratosphere Jump is one of the best examples of viral marketing, attracting a record-breaking 7.1+ million viewers watching the jump live. That is the best record of engagement that any brand and marketing stunt has ever had to date. However, although it is certainly guerrilla marketing, it is a one-time only approach that is in general expensive and not feasible. Viewers were engaged to watch the jump, but are they still engaged with the brand several years later?

Coca-Cola on the other hand, with their “open happiness” campaigns, have found a guerrilla marketing technique that continues to work over and over again, with repeatedly increasing engagement. It may not be a record breaking 7.1 million, but still achieving over a million views on each video is nothing to look down on. Normally, guerrilla marketing campaigns are “High Impact, Low Investment.”

Of course something like Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Machine” and “Happiness Truck” campaigns do include a financial investment because of the free giveaways (which a huge company like Coca-Cola can obviously afford), the outcome far exceeds the invested cost. Not only do people walk away branded in Coke gear, but they have an unforgettable experience with the brand that hits home on an emotional and personal level. This is something that not only these consumers will remember, but also all of the viewers who have watched the campaign the world over.

The Coca-Cola “Open Happiness” campaign is so effective precisely because it is unexpected and it gets people excited about engaging with the brand. Additionally, it helps them form a personal and emotional history with the brand that develops loyalty. Unlike Red Bull, which was most certainly engaging, what Coca-Cola does is it reaches people on a personal level and keeps them engaged for years to come.

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