Coca Cola stays young with Web2.0

The iconic soft drinks manufacturer’s use of Web 2.0 is remarkable for its completism. The company, which relies heavily on brand identity in its marketing, has made use of every Web 2.0 technology going to further its connection with consumers.

So far its ‘social media’ efforts have taken in blogging – the company’s own historian and archivist makes daily posts on the Coca-Cola Conversations blog; virtual worlds – the company conducted a competition to design a virtual vending machine in Second Life; and video sharing – the company’s European division sponsored small functionality ‘widgets’ on video site Joost.

But the company’s Web 2.0 pièce de résistance is its very own social network/virtual world, The site contains ‘CC Metro’, a virtual city where users can make avatars of themselves, play games and socialise. It is also linked to the company’s loyalty reward scheme: Coke drinkers can earn My Coke Rewards, such as music downloads and gifts, by entering a code printed on cans and bottles.

Other social networking initiatives include a Facebook application to promote the brand’s energy drink Burn, called Burn Alter-Ego. Users create an avatar ‘alter-ego’ for themselves, and the application produces images of the avatar on a ‘virtual night out’ with the user’s friends’ avatars. This supposedly promotes the drink’s stimulant properties.

The Coca-Cola Corporation’s use of Web 2.0 typifies a certain approach. The social and collaborative dimensions of its various Web 2.0 offerings are incidental, it seems; the main point is to expose the brand to the eyeballs of a certain demographic.

And with TV viewership in the 18 to 25 age bracket rapidly diminishing, that approach may be even smarter than it perhaps initially sounds.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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Web 2.0