Tag Archives: Coca Cola

Dear Lucozade Sport Lite

Dear Lucozade Sport Lite,

Thank you for making me think about why brands reposition themselves.

You’ve gone from this (at launch about a year ago):

To this (which has just hit our screens):

Poles, leagues, galaxies apart – almost shockingly so.

Clearly something has happened to make you reposition so radically…but what I wonder?

Is it because the people you thought would drink you (i.e. gym go-ers) aren’t actually drinking you, and instead you’re being drunk by the weight conscious as a lifestyle drink / hangover cure and you felt the need to reposition in the “lifestyle sports” space?

Is it because you thought you had to start with a clean positioning slate after you had to recall & withdraw your Summer Berries variant on account of the unpleasant smell and mould growth?

Is it because squash / swimming / spinning / the treadmill are all a bit middle-aged (and consequently by definition a bit boring) and you wanted to give yourself bit more of a dynamic (youthful, funky, multicultural) brand personality?

Is it because people just don’t quite get the idea of a low-calorie energy drink and as a result aren’t buying it? (I know you’re about replenishing salts and minerals and whatnot, but loads of people drink you like you’re an energy drink that’s somehow a bit more justifiable than Red Bull, Monster, Relentless etc)

Is it becuase Powerade Zero has come along with a sharper, more aspirational and appealing proposition and started making life difficult for you? (Helped by Coca-Cola’s distribution muscle of course)

Is it because you’re doing really well, you’ve maxed out on the gym-goer segment (both in terms of mindspace and distribution) and now you’re going after an additional audience (whilst trying to keep hold of your gym-goers)?

Is it because you got a new Marketing Director who appointed a new agency, neither of whom wanted to be associated with the past / both of whom wanted to “make an impact”? Or maybe you gave the task to a new funky young creative team from within the existing agency?

Is it because you kept the same Marketing Director and ad agency, but they fancied a trip to the beach / Los Angeles to top up their tans?

Or is it simply because you’re not selling as much as you thought you would and you need to shift some volume, so you’ve thrown caution to the wind and gone for something radical in the hope that a change is as good as a rest – a bit of a double or quits strategy?

I’m sure there are loads and loads more reasons why you’ve repositioned, but thanks for making me think about the possibilities – it’s been an intriguing diversion…and I would have loved to have seen the brief to see if any of my hypotheses were correct!

Thanks again

Ned

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

Dear magimix

Dear magimix,

Thank you for your Le Duo Plus XL.

We’ve just finished the final batch of apple juice (frozen then defrosted) that the mighty Le Duo Plus XL helped extract from our modest Oxfordshire harvest, and my, my we enjoyed every single last drop.

The general rule of thumb is that Juicers – along with Breadmakers (to whom I gave thanks here), Lean Mean Grilling Machines (George Foreman), Toasted Sandwich Makers, Flavour Shakers (Jamie Oliver), Fondue Sets and/or Raclette Grills – are a good idea in theory, but in practise gather dust in the “duff cupboard” that can be found in every self-respecting middle-class kitchen.

But Le Duo Plus XL is different.

It’s easy to clean (relatively anyway) and easy to use as long as the operator recognises their own limitations and opts to use one feature only, discarding the multitude of remaining blades / drums / baskets / spindles / plungers / siphons / hoppers / nozzles etc. In our case, we went for the bit that means you can get the juice out of apples without having to peel them. There’s so much to be said for keeping it simple – like this beauty by Philippe Stark:

And thanks, magimix, for being another brand that has become the “generic”. Unless people refer to the “whizzer” or “blender”, they generally refer to their magimix, regardless of whether or not it is one.

There’s something strangely reassuring about brands that become the generic and although not the branding holy grail it might first seem, it must be nonetheless satisfying to hear people use your (proper) noun as a verb. Here’s a few other classics (some of which are not technically the generic as they’re from the same category…which in itself is mildly interesting):

And of course, the Godfather of generic brands:

Thanks again magimix.

Ned

PS – Special thanks to Paul who donated the  Le Duo Plus XL to us in the first place!

Flavour Shaker

Dear Dulux

Dear Dulux,

Thank you for your Let’s Colour Project. It makes me smile:

In fact I should be thanking Akzo Nobel, your Dutch owners, but since you’re the UK brand which is where I’m from (Dulux Valentine, Coral, Flexa, Marshall elsewhere round the world), my thanks go to you, even if you are running a different (and in my view much less impactful) campaign  at the moment:

You’re a brand that I’m familiar with both personally and professionally and I have to say that I love the “Let’s Colour” global positioning and this campaign – it all hangs together beautifully and is right up there in the much sought after higher-order emotional stratosphere. It’s about people (humankind), it’s about you, it’s about transformation and it’s about colour – your primary functional benefit. Sure “colour” is the category generic, making this very much a category leader’s positioning (like Coke talking about Taste & Refreshment), but the execution is so vibrantly colourful and engaging that I suspect it will cut through in countries where you’re not the leader.

And thanks to John Howard and his Living Brands blog entry which drew my attention to the French Walls are Dancing sub-initiative which is also sublime:

Here’s the obligatory (and for those of us in the industry as John points out, super interesting) “making-of” clip:

I agree with John that it would be great to see how effective it’s been, but my instinct – and the 100k+ views on YouTube – tell me that this is the sort of thing that is highly shareable…plus there’s all the PR and the physical legacy for passers-by to see. The risk was that Walls Are Dancing would fall into the trap of Sponsored Entertainment (a term coined by David over at Where’s the Sausage? and referenced in my Blog about The Megane Experiment), but I think it has spectacularly avoided that potential pitfall.

Thanks everyone…time to dig out the paint brush!

Ned

PS – When are you heading to Buenos Aires and La Boca? Or do you think they’re OK for paint for the time being?

Dear Coca-Cola

Dear Coca-Cola,

Thank you for putting a broad grin onto my face – again – with the second installment of your Happiness Machine Viral.

Same idea and pretty much the same execution as the previous version (which I posted on here), but nonetheless brilliant for it:

Watching it makes me feel happy. Communication objective achieved. And with a brand that’s an inherent part of my sub-conscience, Marketing objective (sell more cans of Coke) achieved too.

Thanks

Ned

Dear Coca-Cola

Dear Coca-Cola,

Thank you for your “Happiness Machine” viral / video / whatever-you-want-to-call-it…

It may have been around a while and been blogged about by loads of people  (thanks to all the bloggers too, here, here, and here), but when I stumbled across it again recently it made me smile again – so I watched it again and it made me smile again. Thank you Coke for being aware how important it is to demonstrate your brand essence, not just claim it in some flashy CGI ad. And thank you (and your design agency – Turner Duckworth) for your summer cans – they’re sublime.

Ned

UPDATE: Just came across this entry on Mashable – makes for an interesting follow-up read:

How Coca-Cola Created Its “Happiness Machine” (Interview)