International round-up: Coke Life quietly pulled in Australia, Google shuts down Burger King ad

Plus WeChat opens its doors to marketers and McDonald’s launches a campaign in India encouraging consumers to celebrate each other’s differences.

Coca-Cola quietly pulls Coke Life in Australia

After announcing Coca-Cola Life’s death in the UK last week, Coca-Cola has now quietly removed the brand from shelves in Australia as well. However, while the brand is disappearing the product isn’t. Coca-Cola has instead replaced Coke Life with a variation with a new recipe and a new name – ‘Coca-Cola with Stevia’.

“Coca-Cola has recently relaunched Coke-Life in Australia as Coca-Cola with Stevia as part of our One Brand launch and we are excited about its future here,” a spokesperson says.

“Coca-Cola with Stevia has a new recipe that has half the sugar of Coca-Cola Classic. Coca-Cola with Stevia is a great choice for consumers looking for a great Coke taste with sweeteners from plant sources and half the sugar of regular Coca-Cola. We will continue to innovate and invest in Coca-Cola to meet consumers’ changing preferences.”

READ MORE: Coca-Cola quietly pulls Coke Life

United’s scandal angers Asian consumers

On Monday, United Airlines violently removed a customer from one of its flights. The incident was filmed and tweeted out by other outraged passengers, leading to a global uproar.

And the social media storm against United has spread to China and Vietnam. Chinese users speculated the passenger was mistreated because he was Asian. By yesterday (12 April) afternoon a post about his treatment on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging site, had been viewed more than 600 million times.

A petition started by a Chinese student demanding an investigation into the case has so far garnered more than 170,000 signatures.

“He was dragged off brutally and violently. Blood is visible on his face and body,” the petition stated. “We are calling [on] the federal government to launch an investigation into this incident.”

READ MORE: Anger in Asia over passenger forcibly removed from United Airlines flight

McDonald’s encourages people in India to celebrate each other’s differences

McDonald’s latest TV campaign in India is all about consumers embracing people’s differences. Its overall aim is to promote the launch of its Happy Price Combo, which allows consumers to customise their meal and accompanying beverage. That said, the #BeDifferentTogether campaign also looks to highlight how McDonald’s is “a melting pot of divergent lifestyles coming together”.

The new ad, created by Leo Burnett India, looks to embrace consumers’ diversity and celebrate their choices. The film shows men, women and children who are seemingly polar opposites (for example, the ad shows a vegetarian and non-vegetarian) happily hanging out.

READ MORE: McDonald’s campaign India urges people to be different together

WeChat opens its doors to marketers with a new tool

WeChat, China’s most popular social app with 898 million active users, has opened up its platform to brands with a new tool.

The ‘WeChat Index’ tool was launched late March. After entering a search term into the WeChat Index page, marketers are able to see the total number of times the word has been used in the app over the past seven, 30 and 90 days.

Data is generated from articles published by WeChat public accounts, user searches, and content posted by users to their “Moments,” a semi-private newsfeed that is visible to their contacts.

In a statement, Tencent says the index was designed to provide users with insight into wider trends at a time when they are overwhelmed with information regarding specific incidents.

“With the launch of the index, it may help individuals, companies, and governments to understand the real-time social issues, incidents, and public topics that internet users pay the most attention to,” the statement said. “It will also help companies to make marketing and advertising decisions, and monitor the effects by analyzing users’ interests.”

READ MORE: ‘WeChat Index’ opens opaque social network up to marketers

Skol launches skin-coloured cans to prove its commitment to diversity

Diversity has been placed firmly at the top of Skol’s agenda this year. In March, Brazil’s biggest beer brand invited eight illustrators to redesign former Skol posters that objectified women.

Now the brand has launched ‘Skolors’, a range of limited edition cans looking to celebrate different skin colours. The campaign was created by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, and encourages consumers to pre-order the collection of beers online.

The campaign’s social activity includes a special algorithm, which scans people’s profile picture to identify their skin colour. They can then “toast to diversity” with a consumer who has a different skin tone, and share this on their social platforms.

READ MORE: Skol unveils limited edition skin-coloured cans & makes a toast to diversity

Burger King ad that triggered voice-activated devices shut down by Google

Earlier this week, Burger King released a new ad for its Whopper sandwich that was designed to activate Google voice-controlled devices.

The ad starts with a Burger King employee holding up the sandwich saying, “You’re watching a 15-second Burger King ad, which is unfortunately not enough time to explain all the fresh ingredients in the Whopper sandwich. But I’ve got an idea. OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?”

If the viewer has the Google Home assistant or an Android phone with voice search enabled within listening range of the TV, that last phrase – “Hello Google, what is the Whopper burger?” – is intended to trigger the device to search for Whopper on Google and read out the finding from Wikipedia.

“Burger King saw an opportunity to do something exciting with the emerging technology of intelligent personal assistant devices,” Burger King explains.

But its joy didn’t last long – just two hours after the fast food giant unveiled its TV spot, the functionality no longer worked.

People also edited its Wikipedia page so that the burger’s ingredients including items such as rat meat and toenail clippings, although those edits have now been removed.

READ MORE: Burger King made a TV ad designed to trigger voice-activated Google devices in people’s homes

This year’s Marketing Week Masters of Marketing awards take place on 3 October. Entries are now open. To find out more visit www.festivalofmarketing.com/awards

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