Last week I wrote about Pepsi, and openly questioned their decision to pay Beyoncé 50 million dollars for a Super Bowl Campaign (including a Halftime Show performance) and “future promotional activities”.
Today, I turn my attention to how Coke will approach the Super Bowl. On January 22, Coke launched a new campaign called ‘Coke Chase’ that consisted of a 60-second TV spot for national audiences (debuting on American Idol), a 30-second TV spot for regional air time, a campaign site (www.CokeChase.com) and a presence across all noteworthy social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. The campaign depicts three groups – the “Cowboys”, the “Showgirls” and the “Badlanders” – racing across a desert for giant bottle of Coke... which ultimately turns out to be a mirage and points them to a new destination 50 miles away). The advertising and marketing executions ask viewers to go online to vote for which racng team should get to the bottle of Coke first. Participants can also place votes via Twitter hash-tags.
The campaign site features the 60-second TV spot and allows visitors to quickly and easily vote for their preferred ‘racing team’ and provides more in-depth information on each team, including photos, bios and downloadable gifs. Once a vote is cast, the participant is immediately asked if he or she would like to ‘sabotage’ one of the other competing racing groups. With one click, the voter now watches a 30-second clip of that selected group being ‘sabotaged’ (I.e. a red traffic light is placed in the desert that forces the ‘Cowboy’ group to "wait" for the green light; a Dominos delivery man stands in front of the ‘Showgirls’ bus, delaying them in the race to the Coke bottle; etc.).
Each action a participant takes online unlocks more and more content. Vote – and you can instantly sabotage another team. Share the contest with friends – and more video and photos of the participating groups are made available – and more opportunities to sabotage are offered up. They even pre-recorded press conferences that will appear on YouTube of the losing and winning teams for after the Super Bowl.
Voting will occur from January 22 right up until the final whistle of the Super Bowl. And Coke will air the ‘Mirage’ TV spot during the first quarter of the Super Bowl as well to drive participation. Once the game ends, Coke will run a TV spot of the ‘winning’ team getting to the giant Coke bottle first. And, to keep participants and viewers engaged after the game, Coke will give away free beverages to the first 50,000 people to visit www.MyCokeRewards.com.
This campaign, to me, is fundamentally more strategic than what Pepsi has done with Beyoncé. The campaign makes the product the hero, it crosses all platforms (smart phones, tablets, PCs), makes it easy for people to participate, has the legs to live beyond the Super Bowl event and is well positioned to capture lots of attention leading up to, during and after the Super Bowl.
So, will Coke once again outperform is soft drink competitor? I think so… but only time will tell.