Coca-Cola eyes streaming, real-time content production in marketing restart

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Coca-Cola will restart its marketing efforts soon after pressing pause during coronavirus lockdowns, according to a WARC report.
  • The brand plans for a new focus on agility and flexibility as it — and consumers — emerges from the pandemic. Real-time content production and streaming will also get a bigger focus in the beverage giant’s marketing plans in the months ahead, when Coca-Cola expects to adjust spending based on the current moment, per WARC.
  • The company had kept up its social engagement during lockdown but had pulled other forms of advertising during the pause. “The decision to be dark is not sustainable in the longer term and especially now that our customers are going back to being active,” Barbara Sala, Coke’s CEE strategic connection and media director, said at the IAB Europe Interact conference this week.

Dive Insight:

As restaurants and bars closed up shop and concerts and sporting events were canceled during the early stages of the pandemic, Coca-Cola downshifted its advertising. The brand turned its focus from out-of-home, billboards and TV to smaller digital and streaming options to connect with people looking for entertainment at home.

Now that world is slowly beginning to reopen, Coca-Cola is forging a new way forward that includes digital efforts similar to those the brand explored and employed during the pandemic.

Sala said during the conference that lockdowns showed how “digital has been very much able to, immediately and in real time, reach our consumers in many different forms … and some of them really astonished me.”

During the early days of stay-at-home orders, Coca-Cola signed on as the exclusive launch partner to BeApp, a new music streaming platform that integrates gamified and social media elements into the virtual concert-viewing experience. Coke Studio Sessions has featured a number of high-profile artists such as Katy Perry, Miguel, Steve Aoki and the cast of the musical “Hamilton.” This experimental push could signal some of the campaigns that could come as the beverage giant pushes forward.

But Coca-Cola won’t be the only company rethinking digital strategy post-coronavirus. Chief rival PepsiCo also cut back on nonessential ad spend during lockdowns in favor of consumer activations that tapped into what was becoming popular during the pandemic. This included integrations with actor John Krasinki’s feel-good “Some Good News,” a YouTube hit that recently sold to ViacomCBS and a Tostitos Facebook livestream where Bill Murray and Guy Fieri competed to make the best nachos.

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