Dear Coca-Cola

Dear Coca-Cola,

Thank you for being 125 yrs old.

Reaching this milestone is testament to all the incredible marketing that you’ve created over the years and a sure sign that you’ll be here with us doing fantastic marketing in 125 years from now.

I have to confess that I struggle to imagine what a visit to the World of Coca-Cola Museum will be like in 2136, but if it’s anything like what’s on offer in Atlanta today, it’ll be an utterly amazing experience for anyone who’s remotely interested in marketing…

Now I love most things retro, but I have to say I struggle with “centenary marketing”…especially when it fails to differentiate between features (i.e. being 125 yrs old) and benefits (i.e. what’s in it for the consumer).

Now, I am in no doubt that you will succeed in turning the feature of reaching this landmark into a real consumer benefit, but your first foray into your 125 yrs celebrations – or at least the first I’ve seen – did little more than leave me with the one question that Marketers should fear most:

“So what?”

OK, OK, there’s nostalgia, reassurance, heritage etc, but you’ve done such a good job in that past that I had all of that in bucket loads already. Personally, this ad seems lazy, and seems to have fallen into the trap that many fall into of cobbling together a few old ads and thinking that’s the job done – see here for when I thanked Mercedes for not falling into the trap and when Vauxhall did. The irony is that it’s not old ads cobbled together, but it just looks that way…

I know you’re doing cool brand activation stuff such as your  “Retro Poster Maker”, where fans can superimpose themselves into retro Coca-Cola ads and have the opportunity to have their image featured on the Piccadilly sign, and that you’re going to be placing 3D giant glass bottle replicas fitted with bubble machines at busy consumer sites…

…But, I’m still no clearer why you being 125 years old is a good thing for me as a consumer…

At least when Guinness celebrated their 250 year centenary, they offered us the benefit of a real sense of celebration:

Anyway, Happy Birthday and thank you Coke.

Ned

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