Top 4 Marketing Approaches Hidden In Coca-Cola Ads | A Recipe for Success

By: Salena Moran

March is National Caffeine Awareness Month and what better way to celebrate than looking at marketing strategies from the soft drink company, Coca-Cola!

For 132 years, Coca-Cola has utilized messages promoting genuine human connection and authenticity in aesthetically pleasing print and digital advertisements. These messages profitably sell devoid of badgering consumers with facts and lackluster persuasion techniques.

Coke’s advertising and marketing approaches have contributed to the company’s success and can provide valuable insight for businesses everywhere.

 The following Coke ad strategies may help any brand reevaluate its current methods in an original and exciting way: 

1.) Personal Connection

 Share A Coke - 2014

Share A Coke - 2014

     The Coca-Cola Company has a knack for connecting to its consumers. In the “Share a Coke” campaign (2014), consumers feel that a Coke they purchase is more than a number of daily manufactured soft drinks. A Coke with their name or a term of endearment seems to be made just for them or their loved ones. It has thus become personally meaningful.

    When evaluating your own marketing practices, it is important to consider how to make the consumer feel that they are one-of-a-kind. This requires knowledge of the target audience and most importantly, an understanding of what they need and deserve from your company/business.

 

2.) Broader Concepts of Human Connection

 I'd Like to Buy the World A Coke Ad - 1971

I'd Like to Buy the World A Coke Ad - 1971

   

    In perhaps one of the most famous advertising endeavors ever publicized, creative director Bill Backer’s “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” ad (1971) spread a landmark message of diversity and togetherness (Ryan). Coke stresses the importance of consumer interaction and how its product can extend beyond a “refreshing pause” to promote powerful relationships.

    With any marketing endeavor, a brand should establish a platform for broader consumer interaction. Mindful marketing must make the extra effort to show how a product/service can promote a sense of belonging, prompting the consumer to continue purchasing or connecting with the product in the future.

3.)  Authenticity

 You Taste Its Quality Coke Ad- 1942

You Taste Its Quality Coke Ad- 1942

    In this 1942 Coca-Cola ad, the brand places an emphasis on quality, stating that their product “is the real thing.” Coke’s brand personality is one of authenticity, quality and the good times for diverse audiences. While Coke has adapted its ad design and moved into the realm of digital marketing, they still remain true to their roots and original message.

    A brand should have a distinct personality that makes it unique, fosters a positive attitude among consumers and distinguishes them from competitors (Smith). Be careful! Brands should not remain so rigid that they fail to adapt to audience needs and preferences.

 

4.) Relevancy and Adaptability

 Coke Vintage Santa Ad - 1931

Coke Vintage Santa Ad - 1931

 Coke vs. Pepsi Ad

Coke vs. Pepsi Ad

    Coca-Cola masterfully responds to external forces including current consumer trends or remarks from competitors. In the “My Hat’s Off” ad (1931), Coca-Cola introduced its portrayal of Santa Claus during the holiday season. Coke shows the importance of relevancy in their market by designing campaigns around themes or topics of current consumer interest.

    Coca-Cola also adapts to its competitors, especially soft drink rival, Pepsi. When Pepsi distributed an ad that implied they were dressing up as Coke or “something scary,”  Coke retaliated with the same ad but used the copy, "Everybody Wants to Be A Hero."

    In marketing strategies, professionals should learn to respond to competition in a tactful manner. In this case, Pepsi’s snide remark was met with Coke’s subtle copy change, sending a completely different message. It is important to promote a brand and what it offers for consumers but also respond appropriately to competitors’ remarks when fit.

    Ultimately, the genius behind these Coke ads may provide your business some insight about how to foster meaningful brand and consumer relations that lead to well-rounded business success.

 

Sources:

1.) Ryan, Ted. “The Making of ‘I’d Like to Buy the World A Coke.” The Coca-Cola Company, 1 Jan. 2012, http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/coke-lore-hilltop-story.

2.) Smith, Kit. “Exploring the Identity of a Brand: How to Discover and Manage Brand Associations.” BrandWatch, 9 Aug. 2016, https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/discover-measure-brand-associations/.