Brands’ new challenge: turning conversations into transactions, says Coke

Cannes: Coca-Cola’s marketing chiefs have told brand owners that they need to work out how to turn social media activity into sales.


Speaking at the Cannes Lions, Jonathan Mildenhall, vice president of global marketing strategy and creative communications, says: “We are looking for quantitative ways of measuring big ideas and to expand on their potential. We also need to make more content with less money.”

The company’s vice president of global connections, Ivan Pollard, adds that the firm has an “enormous network” of owned media, such as packaging, trucks, vending machines and fridges at the point of sale that, combined with technology and social media, could be “mobilised as a force”.

Pio Schunker, senior vice president of integrated marketing content, revealed how the brand combined owned and digital media in its “Secret Formula” campaign aimed at US teens last year.

Inspired by a blog hoax claiming to reveal the $60 billion Coca-Cola formula, the brand decided that it would play on the concept of a secret recipe combined with a mystery genre to target this audience it has deemed as crucial.

The brand used its own drinks cans and fridges, along with Twitter and YouTube, to execute the campaign using a character created around the drink’s creator, Dr Pemberton.

Dr Pemberton’s image and voice appears in YouTube videos and on Twitter and Facebook, unlocking pieces of the Coca-Cola story along the way.

Find out what happened when Marketing Week went to Coca Cola in Atlanta in our cover feature,click here