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Coca-Cola Celebrates Santa Claus (and Milk, of Course) This Holiday Season

Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2014 05:05 PM

In addition to bringing back its beloved holiday icon, Santa Claus, this holiday season, Coca-Cola is trying to "open happiness" with an entirely new kind of beverage: designer milk to go with those cookies for Saint Nick.

Based on the selling points behind the startup brand Core Power that Coke has been distributing for a while, Fairlife milk has 60 percent more protein and 50 percent less sugar than regular milk as well as 30 percent more calcium, Business Insider reports.

In that regard, Fairlife seems like a perfect bit of diversification for the beverage giant, whose sales of regular and even Diet Coke have been sliding for years under greater health scrutiny by consumers and vilification as a major contributor to the world's problem with obesity.

"It's basically the premiumization of milk," Sandy Douglas, a senior vice president at Coca-Cola's North American operation, said last week at an investor conference, according to CBS News.Continue reading...

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Coca-Cola Brings Back Holiday Truck Campaign to UK

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 7, 2014 07:05 PM

Coca-Cola is bringing back its iconic truck, which will be crossing the UK in a festive tour through November and December's holiday season. Check out its related "Give a little happiness" ad campaign in the UK, which will have local-language variations across Europe, below.Continue reading...

executive decision

Coca-Cola Names New CMO As It Looks to Reinvigorate Brands and Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on October 23, 2014 04:34 PM

Coca-Cola chief marketing officer Joe Tripodi was at least partially responsible for one of the few bright spots in Coca-Cola's recent marketing performance: The "Share a Coke" campaign, which gave Coke sales an upward blip of hope amid a secular decline that has been decades in the making.

But that wasn't enough to save his job, as CEO Muhtar Kent keeps casting about for ways to reinvigorate the company's flagging sales of its signature beverages and products, unsatisfactory growth in its healthful beverages and renewed mojo into its iconic brand, according to the Financial Times. Now holding the third spot on Interbrand's Best Global Brands, Coca-Cola was #1 only two years ago.

Tripodi, who has held the top marketing spot since 2007, is retiring in February 2015 to make way for Marcos de Quinto, a Coca-Cola veteran who takes over the CMO role on January 1 and who currently runs the company's Iberia business unit and is vice president of its Europe Group.

Under Tripodi's supervision, Coke launched "Open Happiness," one of its most successful global brand campaigns a few years ago. Now in his late 50s, he "brought stability to Coke after the company had cycled through several CMOs in the previous decade," the Wall Street Journal said. Continue reading...

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That Sinking Feeling: Coca-Cola Aims to Get More Entrepreneurial to Spark Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2014 04:59 PM

If only Coca-Cola could find a way to extend its "Share a Coke" program for a long time to come. Besides that short-term spark to soda sales, the company didn't have much good news to share—or optimism for the future—along with its quarterly earnings report today.

The beverage giant's revenue actually declined during the third quarter, to less than $12 billion. Its profit fell 14 percent as global soda volume remained flat, reflecting the long-term struggle faced by Coca-Cola and its soft-drink rivals in a pronounced lack of interest in their primary products by more and more health-conscious consumers.

CEO Muhtar Kent also noted that the company is struggling, along with other beverage and consumer packaged goods companies, with currency headwinds and deterioriating economic conditions not only in emerging markets but also in Europe. "This is placing strong pressure on the short-term performance of our business," he said on the company's earnings conference call. He also lowered short- and long-term financial expectations.

But Coca-Cola must keep paddling, so Kent announced a series of initiatives both of the belt-tightening and innovation variety designed to spur growth—somehow. Continue reading...

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Coca-Cola Life Tiptoes Into UK, US, Amid Hopes for Mid-Calorie Sodas

Posted by Dale Buss on August 25, 2014 06:46 PM

Coca-Cola has reached a couple of significant milestones as it advances Coca-Cola Life, the new "mid-calorie" soft drink in the revolutionary green can: Life is now on sale in Great Britain, and Coke is rolling out a massive sampling campaign for its US introduction this fall.

Life just became available broadly in the UK last week in supermarkets across the country, touting one-third less sugar and one-third fewer calories than regular Coke. Sweetened with cane sugar and stevia, it represents the company's most serious effort yet to determine whether there's a big market for soft drinks that are neighter zero-calorie weight-management tools nor fully sweetened, unapologetic vessels of sugary, fizzy, high-calorie refreshment.

In the United States, Coke has begun stocking shelves of Fresh Market stores in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Florida with Life. It plans to make Life available nationwide in October, Advertising Age reported, after Life was first marketed in Argentina.Continue reading...

brand partners

Coca-Cola and Monster Tie Up, Creating New Dynamics for Soda, Energy Drinks

Posted by Dale Buss on August 15, 2014 03:07 PM

Coca-Cola and Monster Beverage seems to be a match made in beverage heaven—or is it? Taking a 17-percent stake in America's fastest-growing energy drink brand for $2.1 billon may prove far from a panacea for troubled Coke in part because energy drink sales are decelerating too.

For now, everyone from Coke CEO Muhtar Kent and Monster CEO Rodney Sacks to industry analysts seem giddy about the tie-up. Coca-Cola will give Monster its tired energy brands in the deal, including NOS, Full Throttle, Burn, Mother, Play and Power Play and Relentless, while Monster will turn over its non-energy brand products—Hansen’s Natural Sodas, Peace Tea, Hubert’s Lemonade and Hansen’s Juice Products—to Coke, which will help accelerate distribution of Monster brands in the US and abroad, especially China. Coke has carried Monster in North America for six years already.

Monster's sales increased by 9 percent last year, and 80 percent of its volume is in the US. Overall energy-drink sales increased by more than 4 percent for the industry last year, Beverage Digest said. Meanwhile, Coke's overall soft-drink sales fell 3 percent last year, and Diet Coke especially has gone into an unexpected swoon on the heels of growing consumer concern over health factors like the use of aspartame.Continue reading...

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Coke Debuts Virtual Assistant to Promote Share a Coke Campaign in UK

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2014 06:22 PM

The moment of truth for beverage retailers has gotten more interesting in the UK as Coca-Cola Enterprises has rolled out a "virtual assistant" to provide a last attempt at persuasion.

Projected onto a life-size, thin screen by Tensator, Coke's virtual assistant "Isabelle" tells retailers about the success of the brand's can-personalization marketing campaign, Share A Coke, suggests how retailers can maximize shopper interest in their stores and plays a new Share a Coke TV advertisement.

The digital signage, which uses innovative HD projection and audio-visual technology, is being used at Dhamecha cash-and-carry depots in London.

Isabelle "is a creative and fun way to reach our customers with the campaign and is a piece of genuine digital innovation that we're excited to bring to the market," Simon Miles, digital director at Coca-Cola Enterprises, said in a statement.Continue reading...

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Critics Make a Dent in Coke's Can as Brand Steps Up Health Marketing

Posted by Dale Buss on July 31, 2014 04:04 PM

Things aren't going well for Coca-Cola these days. While the company still returned $47 billion in profits last year, that amount was down by more than $1 billion from 2012.

That may not seem like much of a problem, but as newly chronicled in places ranging from the cover of the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek to a prominent story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, minting profits—and sales—for Coca-Cola no longer is as simple as filling another bottle or can. The company and, especially, the brand are being hit with unprecedented resistance these days that is so stiff, some worry it ultimately could be existential for Coca-Cola.

Consumption of soda globally fell in the first quarter for the first time since 1999, though they rebounded in the second quarter; and the consumption slide continues in the US as the brand remains under assault from anti-obesity activists and politicians for its sugar and calorie content, while Diet Coke increasingly is suffering attrition as well because of concerns about aspartame. Meanwhile, new beverage startups in the flavored water and tea categories in which Coke has invested aren’t growing quickly enough to offset the continued losses in soda consumption.Continue reading...

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