Elvis and Marilyn Monroe star in digital-led Coke ads celebrating 100 years of its contour bottle

Digital is the “backbone” of marketing plans for the global launch of activity surrounding the anniversary of Coca-Cola’s contour bottle to ensure campaigns are locally relevant and shareable.

cc100_ooh_heritage_elvis_landscape_web  - under embargo 2nd March

At a launch event in Atlanta, Georgia Coca-Cola announced plans for a global campaign featuring iconic figures such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Ray Charles celebrating its iconic contour bottle, which turns 100 this year.

Katie Bayne, senior vice president of global sparkling brands at Coca-Cola said: “When we come up with our marketing planning we ask ‘are we really thinking digital?’, not as an after thought but as the centre. With our major media campaigns, it will always have a digital backbone.”

A social media campaign was rolled out globally last night (26 February) asking consumers to submit a ‘what’s next’ response for an open ended film short titled ‘Generous World’, which sees people continuously passing their coke to others that are in dire need of a drink after chaotic events occur – such as a meteor hitting or a car being towed away.

UK-specific plans focus on digital and outdoor channels, and a TV spot launches this weekend (1 March). The campaign is titled ‘Ive kissed…” and features Presley, Monroe and Charles being ‘kissed by’ a Coca-Cola bottle – the idea being that anyone can kiss happiness by drinking from the original glass bottle.

In international markets the images featured on outdoor ads will also use local celebrities and consumers from each market but it is not clear yet whether this will happen in the UK.

Large scale out-of-home activity featuring the stars will run from the 30 March for two weeks at London’s Oxford Circus tube station, running across the entire length of the underground platform and the TV ad will run for a month from Sunday 1st of March.

In addition, Coca-Cola will be running ‘digital takeovers’ of YouTube and XBOX in the first week of March, for 24 hours, as well as promoted social media as sharability of campaigns is a focus.

Bayne said: “With every one of our creative ideas, we begin by asking ‘is this shareable?’, it’s such an important aspect of any creative spot.”

It’s an extension of the ‘open happiness’ tagline to how the brand engages with its audience.

James Sommerville, vice president of global design at Coca-Cola said: “Coke is a open brand, we don’t have a fortress with the gates closed and locked. It’s about engaging people to bring the outside in and that allows us to be informed rather than being closed minded. As a huge organisation it’s about extending that invitation about ‘open happiness’.”

The event, hosted at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art with a display of archived images featuring the iconic contour bottle from artists including Andy Warhol, highlights a new direction for the company in launching global activity by using a portfolio assets to be used by local markets to increase relevancy.

The adverts for the campaign were unveiled at an investors’ conference in New York last Friday (20 February) and was described by Coca-Cola’s chief executive Muhtar Kent as an example of how the quality of its advertising is improving as a result of the reinvestment of savings made from tighter procurement processes and investment in “creating efficient and global campaigns.”

In response to a question asked by Marketing Week on why the UK campaign uses digital and outdoor, Bayne said: “Because of the heft of tools in every market it’s about customising it for them so you are seeing more digital and outdoor because it’s an effective way to reach out [in the UK].

“Some of James’ design is very sophisticated and it’s exactly the fresh voice for developed markets like the UK and the US. You wouldn’t put that out in Indonesia, you would use more of what clearly states what the brand is about.”

The brand is also launching a set of global films featuring different aspects of the bottle for different markets.