Coca-Cola, which was named Beverage Industry’s 1999 Company of the Year, has embraced a decentralized operating philosophy, recognizing that each market in which they operate has “different demands which must be met in unique ways”1. Coca-Cola Enterprises (The European bottler for Coke) CEO Henry Schimberg has stated that although they have well-defined general policies, much of the responsibility to succeed and make decisions has to come from each local market, not headquarters in Atlanta. 2
While it may seem that firms have to choose between the extremes of a global vs. stomized approach, in practice the method used is often a combination of both, “blending uniformity with individual area differences”. 3 Coca-Cola, for instance, has previously had a successful international soccer-star campaign which featured the same common theme, but with a different celebrity athlete for each targeted country. Such pan-European advertising is becoming increasingly popular and common. 4 This strategy has built a strong global brand awareness not only in Europe but throughout the world.
Based on this strong brand awareness, Coca-Cola tailors each ad to a specific country to achieve global sales success through local penetration. EU Promotional Campaigns 2 Coca-Cola uses a multitude of promotional vehicles to attract new coke drinkers and retain current ones. One of the strongest promotional venues has been through television and sporting events (mainly soccer) but in the nineties the internet is strongly becoming a popular means to increase promotions. Sports Promotion Coke takes a global approach to its sports promotion. In 1997 they established managers for each of the different sports that Coke sponsors worldwide.
This global coordination effort helps to oversee major marketing campaigns, however it also still allows unique advertising techniques and messages to be conveyed in each country. Television Recently, Coca-Cola has hired the services of TeleVest, a New York media agency specialized in purchasing television airtime, to select and locate TV series to purchase or sponsor in order to more effectively reach European television viewers. By purchasing programs, Coca-Cola will be able to license them to various markets with contracts stipulating that Coca-Cola receive a certain amount of free ad-time spread across other shows on the station.
This strategy seems attractive especially as most international markets have national networks (such as TF1, A2, or FR3 in France) but no local stations. 6 Website Promotion As expected, Coca-Cola has not just a European website, but several websites for certain countries in the EC; the countries offering such sites are France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany, and Norway. Upon examining these various sites, we concluded that they are another example of Coca-Cola’s decentralized marketing campaign. Each country’s management team has the freedom to market itself the way they want, as long as certain guidelines are followed.
In France, the site (www. coca-cola. fr) is presented as a web-zine, offering the latest in music and sports-related news, obviously targeting a young public; In Spain, the site (www. siempre-on. com) offers coupons which you can print out at home, indicating that Coca-Cola reaches a price conscious audience. Denmark’s site (www. coca-cola. dk) is primarily a contest site currently featuring trips to Australia. Thus, Coca-Cola customizes its web campaign for each country in order to more effectively tap into people’s feelings, integrating any culturally relevant issues or preferences into the sites’ presentation.
Specific Promotional Activities The following are specific promotional activities that are currently being done in the various countries in the European Union. Spain Telefonica Interactiva entered into a promotional arrangement with Coca-Cola Espana aimed at boosting Teleline’s user base. Telefonica Interactiva, Internet subsidiary of Telefonica, has entered into a promotional arrangement with Coca-Cola Espana aimed at boosting Teleline’s user base. Under the deal, people who buy 20 half-litre Coca-Cola bottles will receive a year’s Internet access for only Pta4k Vs Pta13k/y on average at present.
Coca-Cola launched “Dress-up with Coca-Cola Light” promotion in Spain in co-operation with clothing retailer Cortefiel. A consumer who buys the soft drink at a bar can have a special card marked by the waiter, building up points giving discounts of up to 20% at outlets of Cortefiel’s Springfield and Women’s Secret chains. The promotion was created by Think for Sale and is supported by an outdoor ad campaign and leaflets. 8 Coca-Cola started “Suma Oros” promotion in Spain with French publisher Hachette.
Consumers can trade in coupons from Fanta bottles for subscriptions to Hachette magazines including Elle, Diaz Minutos, Regazza and Quo; the promotion is handled by McCoy and supported by TV and print from McCann-Erickson. 9 Turkey Promotional activities also include bottling alternatives. For instance, Coca-Cola is introducing 500ml nonrefundable plastic bottles in Turkey. Coca-Cola Classic, Coca-Cola Light, Fanta and the Sprite brands are available in the new format. The new packaging launch is supported by a campaign involving sales promotion, point-of-sales promotion, plus outdoor and print advertising.
The promotional effort is based on the “I go where you go” slogan, according Public Relations Manager Gurtay Kipcak. 10 France (World Cup) Coca-Cola created a huge promotional campaign for the 1998 World Cup Soccer Tournament. For this, the world’s largest single-sporting event, Coca-Cola spent more than it did on the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, when it painted Atlanta red. Systemwide, the cost to Coca-Cola and its bottling partners was estimated at $250 million, though company officials won’t pin down an exact figure.
The goal of that spending, as always, is to boost sales — and not just by selling an estimated 5 million servings of Coca-Cola products at the tournament itself. The company’s plan is to drive global sales by tapping into the frenzied passion that fans have for the world’s No. 1 sport. The advertising, promotions and other marketing efforts played off of Coca-Cola’s “For the Fans” theme, popularized during the 1996 Summer Games. This time, the catch phrase was “Eat Football, Sleep Football, Drink Coca-Cola,” or “Vivez Football, Vibrez Football, Buvez Coca-Cola,” as the signs say in France.
Coca-Cola CEO, Douglas Ivester said the sponsorship lets the company “refresh consumers” while “sharing the fans’ passion for football,” which is what soccer is called outside the United States. In France, where the company began “activating” its plan a year prior to the event by giving away 5,000 World Cup tickets, sales of Coca-Cola products have risen almost 30 percent year-to-date. Volume rose 26 percent in the first quarter of promotion and shot up 50 percent just prior to the World Cup. The marketing push was in more than half of the 200 countries where Coca-Cola does business.
But rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, Coca-Cola has tailored advertising, promotions and other marketing efforts for specific areas. 11 Finland National regulations/cultures also restrict promotional activities. For instance, Coca-Cola Finland will be fined $47,000 if it repeats its Yo-yo promotion. The ruling upholds a complaint from Finland’s Competition Ombudsman about a quiz promotion called Coca-Cola Yo-yo Lottery run by Coca-Cola Finland last autumn. Consumers who bought Coke, Fanta and Sprite were offered a chance to win a “free” yo-yo.
Court officials also determined that since the prize was a Coca-Cola yo-yo, the campaign targeted children. The court ruled that it was improper of Coca-Cola to expect children to waste time and incur costs by dialing a special number. The court described the whole exercise as being “in very poor taste”. 12 Joint Marketing Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages are to launch the “Peel to Reveal” soft drink can promotion featuring special labels. PRINTPACK Europe, of Bury, has produced 15 million labels for the world’s first Peel to Reveal soft drinks can promotion by Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages.
A dotted line along the seal shows consumers where to peel off the label to check for instant win cinema ticket prizes. 13 Coke currently has deals with both McDonalds and Burger King in Belgium. These deals are such that local franchise holders coordinate the design of posters and point-of-sale materials with Coke’s input. This local promotion allows tailoring of material to the needs of the specific franchise (i. e. Burger King as opposed to McDonalds) as well as customizing to local cultural aspects.