Coca-Cola – One brand strategy
Coca-Cola radically changed the way it markets its products, introducing a “one brand strategy” where its four product variants – Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life – fit underneath the master brand rather than being supported with separate campaigns.
The move saw the company evolve its “Open Happiness” strapline to “Choose Happiness” in Great Britain in an bid to help consumers make informed choices and suggest there is a Coca-Cola to suit every taste by more clearly communicating product differentiation.
It was part of an effort to grow sales in the company’s flagship European market, Great Britain, as well as boost sales of its lower and no calorie variants. Research conducted by the brand found that half of consumers did not know that Coke Zero has no sugar and no calories and were unclear about the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke.
Initial sales figures suggest the shift has paid off. Data from IRI shows that total Coca-Cola value sales across its variants were up in the UK by 1.46% year on year to £480.3m for the 20 weeks to 18 July (the period during which the strategy has been in place). Meanwhile, main rival Pepsi saw total sales drop 8.4% to £161.7m.
However, proof of success will not be known for at least a year, when it will be clearer if Coca-Cola has managed to sustain those sales.
Coca-Cola has also had a tougher time improving consumer perceptions of its brand. This is in part down to growing public health concerns over sugar, with a group of MPs recently recommending the introduction of a sugar tax, an idea that brands such as Jamie Oliver and Leon have already implemented.
According to YouGov’s BrandIndex, Coca-Cola’s reputation score has fallen by a statistically significant 8.9 points over the past six months. However the wider carbonated drinks market has also seen a decline.
Ex Machina – Fake Tinder date
During SXSW festival in Austin this year, various male Tinder users couldn’t believe their luck when they were matched with a beautiful brunette called “Ava” who claimed to be in the nearby area looking for love.
She did, however, ask them a variety of unusual questions, including: “Have you ever been in love?” and “What makes you human”. After carrying on the conversation, Ava revealed her true identity by sending a link to her Instagram page where the users would discover that she is actually a robot and they have been the victims of a marketing stunt to promote artificial intelligence thriller Ex Machina.
And people weren’t best pleased. Most of the reactions to the campaign have been negative, with many characterising the approach as “counter-productive”, “an invasion of privacy”, “trolling” and “trickery”.
However, Marketing Week’s own columnist Mark Ritson was much more positive about it, saying the campaign “ticks all the boxes for what great tactical work should achieve”.
Kit Kat – Celebrate the breaks
Kit Kat was facing a tough fight – figures from Euromonitor show that sales fell 10.3% across the entire chocolate snacking category between 2010 and 2015, and is predicted to decline further over the next five years by 9.6%. Kit Kat faced the challenge of trying to increase sales in a declining market.
To do that, it decided to double its marketing spend this year to £10m and launched its “Celebrate the breaks” campaign to grab people’s attention.
It started by undertaking its biggest wrapper redesign since the brand came to market almost 80 years ago, changing the logo on more than 100 million packets to reflect the different ways consumers spend their breaks – including one with “YouTube my break” branding.
It then went on to release various “moment marketing” campaigns in collaboration with J. Walter Thompson, which saw the brand push out topical and humourous adverts relating to events such as the new James Bond film, Black Friday and Christmas.
And this hasn’t been without success – according to IRI data, total Kit Kat sales were £194.0m in the 52 weeks ending 7 November 2015, compared to £186.7m in the previous year, marking an increase of 3.9%.
Listerine – Feel every smile
Most people associate toothpaste adverts with white-toothed models who are overly excited to be brushing their teeth. However, Listerine went down a different route and shook up the oral care market with a “heartwarming and thought provoking” campaign that aims to bring the power of a smile to blind people.
In September the brand launched an app designed to let blind people know when someone is smiling at them. Built by its creative agency J. Walter Thompson, the app uses facial recognition and a phone’s camera to detect a smile from up to five metres away and notifies the app user with a vibration or a beep.
The app was promoted by a short film “Feel Every Smile”, which stars four blind people talking about what smiles mean to them.
Listerine’s brand director Alice Lovell said the brand is looking to move away from the “white smile idea” so prevalent in oral care to focus more on what a smile means and its impact on those around you. The video was a huge success, gaining over 2 million views since its launch.
Protein World – Are you beach body ready?
Ready for some controversy? Few people had heard of Protein World before they placed bright yellow posters throughout the London Underground in April this year. However, this soon changed.
The ad, which promoted the brand’s slimming product and featured a woman wearing a bikini, received 378 ASA complaints after appearing throughout the London Underground, while a Change.org petition calling for the ad to be removed received over 40,000 signatures. Commuters also defaced many of the ads and took to social media with the hash tag #EachBodysReady to express their anger.
After an investigation into the complaints, the ASA decided that the campaign was not in breach, concluding “the headline and image were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.” However, the body did ban the ad due to concerns over “health and weight loss claims made in the ad”.
In response to negative tweets about the campaign, Protein World CEO Arjun Seth wrote that “sales have tripled and the PR department just got their bonus” while the brand has defiantly re-tweeted numerous offensive tweets about its body image. Marketing Week’s very own Mark Ritson also waded in to the debate, branding the ads and the furore surrounding them “great marketing”.
Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas calamity
While Sainsbury’s decided to pull on people’s heartstrings with last year’s World War 1 Christmas ad, this year the retailer decided to do the opposite.
In November it launched a whimsical campaign in collaboration with AMV BBDO, featuring a CGI version of author Judith Kerr’s fictional feline character Mog. It sees the cat accidentally ruining Christmas by setting fire to his family’s house. However, the fire service and neighbours come to the rescue with food and presents alongside the returning Sainsbury’s ‘Christmas is for Sharing’ slogan.
Much like last year, the campaign features a tie-up with a charity. Throughout the festive season, Sainsbury’s will sell a new storybook of Kerr’s Mog in its stores with all sales donated to Save The Children.
While it’s early days to see how the campaign has impacted the supermarket’s sales, YouGov BrandIndex figures show that the ‘buzz’ around the brand has seen its score increase by 5.1 points over the past month, placing it fourth out of a list of 26 supermarket brands. The brand’s purchase consideration increased significantly by 4.2 points to a score of 47 after the ad launched in November.
Meanwhile, a study by Waggener Edstrom assessing the social media impact of each retailer’s Christmas marketing over the last four weeks showed that Sainsbury’s ad made the second-biggest impact on social media.
Sport England – This Girl Can
Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign hit the airwaves in January this year, showing real women exercising. The campaign was born out of insight which showed that 75% of women say they would like to exercise more, but refrain from doing so due to a fear of judgement.
Speaking about the campaign earlier this year at Advertising Week Europe, Sport England’s director of business partnerships Tanya Joseph said: “We needed to do something radical and disruptive, as most female sport advertising is incredibly stylised and airbrushed”. It clearly captured a nerve, as 13 million people have now viewed the This Girl Can film online.
The campaign, which was created by FCB Inferno, has also gained industry-wide recognition, winning nine Cannes Lions and Joseph being named ‘Marketer of the year’ at this year’s Masters of Marketing awards.
To push the campaign even further, Sport England teamed up with retailer M&S for an exclusive range of t-shirts and also launched a new app to encourage women to post viral sporting videos.
St. John Ambulance – The Chokeables
St. John Ambulance decided to take action after its research showed that 79% of parents did not know how to help a choking baby, despite 58% saying it was a major concern.
The result was ‘The Chokeables’ – a 40-second ad that demonstrates how to save a choking baby, featuring the celebrity voices of David Mitchell, David Walliams, Johnny Vegas and Sir John Hurt.
The ad, which was created by BBH and aired across several television channels, has racked up millions of views across YouTube and Twitter. Estimates by the company indicate that 20.9 million people saw it in its first week on television, while the video has also been shared over 155,000 times on St. John Ambulance’s Facebook page.
But the ad also produced some real-life results – stories have been sent to the charity about 42 babies and children who have choked on a variety of objects and were saved by the ad as a result. In each instance, the person who leapt into action said that they’d learned the technique from The Chokeables video.
Volvo – LifePaint
This year, car manufacturer Volvo revealed a new ambition: that by 2020 no-one will be killed or seriously injured in road accidents.
To help it achieve that the brand looked not at ways of making its car safer, but how to avoid crashes altogether. It identified cyclists as some of those most at risk and began investigating how to make travel safer for them.
Created in collaboration with Grey London, the brand brought out ‘LifePaint’ – a reflective safety spray aimed at increasing the visibility and safety of cyclists and other road users. While it is invisible by daylight, it glows brightly in the glare of car headlights.
LifePaint launched on a total budget of £65,000 and generated global media attention, 5.9m organic YouTube views and worldwide demand for the product.
Following the huge success of the initial trial the product is now an official Volvo spare part, which means any Volvo dealership in the world can order the product for retail to sell at the cost price of £10. Volvo makes no profit on the sale of LifePaint.
The product is also publicly available in locations such as cycle shops in the UK, Canada, Austria, The Netherlands and New Zealand, with more countries to follow in 2016.
Warburtons – From our family to yours
Bakery brand Warburtons is a company that prides itself on its heritage. It’s a fifth-generation family business that is run today by cousins Jonathan, Brett and Ross Warburton, and has used its family identity in advertising on and off throughout its 139-year history.
However, the company decided to step things up a notch by launching its biggest ever campaign. Created by WCRS and costing £16m, it featured Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone and the tagline ‘From our family to yours’.
“All our advertising at the moment also features our chairman Jonathan [Warburton], which helps us move away from being a faceless corporation and shows consumers the real people behind the business,” marketing manager Sally Stanton told Marketing Week at the time.
It is a strategy that appears to be paying off, the brand is the biggest bakery business in the country by sales and the second largest grocery brand overall after Coca-Cola, having doubled its turnover between 2001 and 2011.
Kantar Worldpanel says it is the most frequently purchased grocery product in the UK, chosen on average 25 times a year by 86% of households.
It followed up the Stallone campaign with an even bigger £25m featuring The Muppets.
Women’s Aid – Look at me
Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, Women’s Aid installed a billboard designed to grab and keep hold of the attention of passersby.
The billboard creative, by WCRS, used facial recognition technology to recognise when people actively paid attention to the image of a bruised woman. As more people take notice of the image of the women, her bruises slowly heal, demonstrating to viewers that by taking notice they can help confront the signs of domestic violence by not turning a blind eye.
People were also encouraged to donate £5 to Women’s Aid, the charity behind the campaign, to stop domestic abuse.
‘Look at Me’ was the first of its kind to use eye-recognition to trigger an immediate change in an outdoor poster’s creative message, and won a Gold Cannes Lions Award in June this year.
It also won an award for best ‘Outdoor and location-based marketing’ campaign at this year’s Masters of Marketing awards, with one of the judges stating that “it used a fantastic blend of technology and outdoor media to drive awareness that clearly answered the needs of the cause”.
WWF – WWF’s endangered emoji
It would be fair to say that the emoji language has had a breakthrough 12 months, with the Oxford English Dictionairy even naming the ‘tears of joy’ emoji as ‘word’ of the year. But 2015 also saw various brands incorporate the popular characters in their campaigns.
In May, The World Wildlife Fund ran a Twitter campaign using emojis to tell the story of endangered species and encouraged people to donate via the social network.
The campaign, created by Wieden+Kennedy, was sparked by the discovery that 17 characters in the emoji alphabet represent endangered species.
Meanwhile, Ikea launched a catalogue of branded emojis, through which the retailer hopes to improve communication around the home by helping to keep the conversation “light and friendly”. It seems that emojis are becoming marketers’ go-to global language.