In the second half of 2009, Coca Cola came up with an interesting and innovative marketing campaign with a simple tagline calling people to “Open Happiness.” It became one of the greatest example of integrated marketing communications in the modern times and gave enormous success to the brand by connecting deeply with consumers all across the world. The theme of the campaign spread the feeling of joy and asked people to find joy through little things in life and spread the happiness through Coca Cola.
The campaign showcased that happiness was expressed in simple ways like opening a bottle of coca cola and was shared with friends and family by sharing a coca cola. Central to this theme was taking a break from the usual chores of life, letting everything go for a moment and enjoying a cold bottle of Coca-Cola while connecting with others. Katie Bayne, CFO of Coca-Cola North America said that the motto of the company was to bring the smile back on people’s faces while drinking a Coke. The videos used in the campaign showed how a bottle of Coke can change people’s mood and bring them immense joys. The Open Happiness was integrated with the Share a Coke campaign to help customers associate with the joys of sharing small things like a Coke (Carnprobst 2015).
Coca-Cola put in immense marketing efforts to make the campaign a huge success. The message from the campaign was seen everywhere in a very short time including television commercials, outdoor banners, online social media, print and radio advertisements. The common feature in all these media was how opening Coca Cola brings happiness and how sharing Coke multiplies the joy. The campaigns used smiling happy faces with a can or bottle of Coke and went beyond the traditional marketing campaigns by integrating lovely visual concepts with some fascinating music composed for the campaign. Coca Cola also made a lot of music videos in order to promote their campaign and used some of the top singers in the music industry (Coca-Cola 2016).
The campaign also used unique promotion techniques such as the ‘Happiness Truck’, ‘Happiness Vending Machines’ and the ‘Hug Machine’. Happiness Truck went across cities and shared free bottles of Coke and other free gifts to people spreading the message of happiness through Coke and creating brand loyalty among consumers. Normal vending machines were converted into Happiness Vending Machines across many locations and provided customers a chance to be pleasantly surprised with offers and gifts when they insert a coin. The hug machine distributed free Coke to people who hugged the machine spreading. All these concepts used free cokes to connect with people and increase their joy asking them to share the experience with their friends along with a Coke. The campaign also used several digital competitions to promote joy by giving away free trips and gifts when people drink Coke. They also launched a new Coke bottle that had a unique cap which required people to connect it with another bottle’s cap in order to open it. This made people share their Coke and enjoy the happiness together (Johnson 2011).
The campaign connected with customers by using everyday people in their ads along with celebrities. This meant that people could connect with the message better as they could see some part of themselves in the people portrayed in the advertisements. It further connected with consumers by asking them to vote on various competitions and asked them for feedbacks about its commercials. Apart from the music which made instant connections with the public was also backed up by animated and real life videos that inspired people from all walks of life and connected with them emotionally. This connection was instant in the age of technology as Coca Cola leveraged digital media techniques like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. to keep the brand relevant in people’s minds and their music on their soul.
(Author: Baibhab Mahapatra – Deakin Business School)