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Posts Tagged ‘Coca-Cola’

How Should Brands Respond to Tragedy on Social Media?

Boston!This post was co-written by the author and his wife, Stephanie Coffee

Horrific events that shock and captivate entire nations, superseding all other news—tragedies like the Newtown shooting and last week’s Boston Marathon terror attack—are thankfully rare. And yet, as we all know, social media and the 24/7 cable news cycle have intensified the public’s focus on these national crises and their aftermaths.

Now that the Boston case has been resolved with amazing speed by state and local authorities, we can examine the media response to last week’s events from a PR perspective.

As communications professionals, we know that the public doesn’t just demand (accurate) news as it breaks in times of crisis. They also value reassurances and statements of support from sources they follow on social media—sources that include their favorite brands.

At least one brand has already demonstrated the dangers of an inept response. So what should public entities and the people who manage their accounts do?

What NOT to do: 

  • Don’t tie the event into a promotionEpicurious (which is usually a very good food site) gave us a perfect case study on Monday with its tone-deaf promotional tweet encouraging followers to buy specific Boston-themed products. We won’t go into why it was a terrible idea because that should be painfully obvious. As another example, who can forget Kenneth Cole’s infamous Egypt uprising PR Fail?

Coke Clarifies: Social Buzz Complements Long-Term Sales

You’ve probably heard that everyone’s talking about Coca-Cola‘s social media reveal this week. According to the soft drink giant, the fact that more people are discussing its brand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube doesn’t necessarily mean that more of them are buying Coke products. But maybe “How many people bought a Coke after retweeting a call to action?” is the wrong question to ask.

In an effort to clarify its points and counter the media’s collective freakout, Coke’s SVP of integrated marketing Wendy Clark wrote a blog post arguing that social does, in fact, play a large role in boosting brand perception and audience engagement–which leads to more sales.

Her point, of course, is that the fact that data can’t directly link the number of comments on a Facebook post to the number of people buying Coke does not diminish the value of said content. This kind of “buzz” is only one part of Coke’s extensive branding/PR puzzle, which uses earned, shared, paid and owned media to encourage the brand’s ultimate goal: driving consumers to buy more soda in the long run.

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Twitter Buzz Helps Boost TV Ratings

The biggest PR/marketing story of the week so far involves Coca-Cola‘s surprising announcement that social media “buzz” doesn’t translate to short-term boosts in sales. On the television front, however, research comes to the opposite conclusion: yesterday we learned, via our sister blog Lost Remote, that Nielsen finally released a yearlong study firmly tying Twitter mentions to increased ratings for popular shows.

How does that relationship work? Let’s check out the numbers:

The Twitter effect is least influential on season premieres. an 8.5% increase in buzz (or related tweets by volume) leads to a 1% bounce in viewership among the 18-34 set, while a 14% increase creates the same gains among viewers aged 35-49. For midseason episodes, however, the numbers are more impressive: the amount of buzz required to create a similar 1% ratings bump is almost half the size for episodes airing midway through the season.

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Coca-Cola Says Social Media Buzz Does Not Boost Sales

Coca-Cola This week, a Coca-Cola representative made a statement that will create more than a few headaches in marketing, PR and advertising departments around the country. For all the talk of encouraging the conversation online, social media buzz does not appear to translate into short-term revenue gains (at least for Coke). Oh, and print ads are the most effective way for Coke to drive per-impression sales. Surprised?

It’s a very dramatic announcement coming from a company with more than 60 million Facebook fans. But don’t freak out just yet–and don’t start gently lowering clients’ expectations, either. According to AdAge, Coke’s senior manager of marketing strategy Eric Schmidt (no relation) warned his audience at the Advertising Research Foundation‘s Re:Think 2013 conference not to read too much into the bombshell headline.

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Petition Asks Coke to Follow Pepsi, Remove Chemical from Powerade

Powerade Coca-ColaWe’ve talked a lot recently about the PR wars over food labeling, but what happens when labels already offer complete transparency and customers don’t like what they see?

Aveyca Price of Georgia recently noticed that her bottle of Powerade contained brominated vegetable oil, a synthetic chemical used to prevent separation in soft drinks that, if consumed in high amounts over a long period of time, can build up in the body and cause serious toxic effects. Oh, and it’s also a flame retardant.

Surprised and concerned that her sports drink contained a chemical so controversial it has been banned in over 100 countries, Price decided to take action.

Because an online petition that received over 200,000 signatures recently helped prompt Pepsico to phase out BVO from its Gatorade sports drinks (although it’s still present in Mountain Dew), Price created a similar petition on Change.org asking Coca-Cola, makers of Powerade, to do the same. Within its first month, Price’s campaign gained over fifty thousand supporters. “Fifty thousand people (signing) within a month is amazing. I’m surprised and I’m glad I have that many people backing me up,” she said.

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What Are America’s 10 ‘Most Trusted’ Brands? And Why?

A few weeks ago we gave you a list of the 10 brands Americans hate most and tried to figure out why. Today we’re taking the opposite approach with the help of Harris Interactive‘s latest public opinion poll gauging the most (and least) trusted brands in the country.

Here are the brands held in highest esteem by the 19,000 random people who participated in the poll (along with our attempts to figure out how they got there):

1. Amazon: It could be the fact that Amazon remains the first and biggest online retailer with a reputation for security and an endless inventory. It could be the brand’s truly innovative recommendation system. Or it could be Amazon’s plan to create its own “virtual” currency–because no dishonest individual would ever make his own money, right?

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New Zealand Woman Overdoses on Coca-Cola

We would normally view this tragic story of a 30-year-old New Zealand mother of 8 who died of cardiac arrhythmia after drinking 2.2 gallons of Coca-Cola every day as something of a PR emergency–especially after reading that her family “had not considered her Coke habit dangerous because the drink did not carry any health warnings” and that her coroner recommended Coke add “appropriate warnings related to the dangers of consuming excessive quantities of the products” to all of its packaging. (The coroner also suggested that NZ authorities limit the amounts of caffeine allowed in carbonated beverages.)

But then we re-read what we just wrote and asked ourselves how anyone could drink 2.2 gallons of Coke a day, especially after she had “all her teeth removed after they went rotten due to excessive soft drink consumption” and gave birth to at least one child who was “born with no enamel on its teeth.”

Sad as this news may be, we now wonder whether Coke‘s follow-up statement expressing its “disappointment” in the coroner’s decision to link heart failure to soda was even necessary.

 

SodaStream Super Bowl Ad Rejected for Picking on Big Soda Brands

We recently told you about SodaStream‘s clever ad being pulled for “denigrating” the bottled drinks market — or, as we saw it, being a little too effective at competing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Now, SodaStream’s newest spot, dubbed “Game Changer” and created specifically for the Super Bowl, has been rejected by CBS for similar reasons.

Because SodaStream is a direct competitor of the Big Soda brands that tend to be omnipresent during the Super Bowl — and because the proposed ad isn’t shy about taking direct aim at those brands — even the company itself isn’t surprised “Game Changer” was rejected.

CMO of SodaStream International Ilan Nacasch said in a release, “We understand that the ‘Game Changer’ ad may be uncomfortable to the Big Soda companies, but we are proud of the ad and the truth that it brings to the American consumer.”

That “truth,” according to CEO Daniel Birnbaum, is that “500 million bottles and cans are manufactured every day in the U.S and less than 50% are recycled, causing untold damage to our environment…Our ad confronts the beverage industry…by showing people that there exists a smarter way to enjoy soft drinks.”

A cool product with a save-the-world angle? No wonder the big brands are a little nervous. The rejected ad will air internationally beginning next week (but you, lucky readers, can watch it now below).

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Taylor Swift Is The New Face of Diet Coke

Yesterday Coca-Cola finally addressed its nemesis PepsiCo by laying its promotional cards on the table and declaring: “We’ll see your Beyoncé and raise you a Taylor Swift.”

Like the Beyoncé deal, Swift/Diet Coke will be a “long-term” relationship between everyone’s favorite low-calorie soda and everyone’s favorite musical memoirist that will integrate Swift “into all key marketing efforts” for Diet Coke’s Stay Extraordinary campaign. Her latest album title, Red, even complements the brand. It’s almost like she knew this would happen…

We think we get Coca-Cola’s strategy here: Swift, despite being one of the world’s biggest pop stars, has a reputation for being close to her (overwhelmingly female) fan base. The video she released announcing the partnership and encouraging supporters to visit Diet Coke’s Facebook page is a good example of this personal branding aesthetic in action:

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NY Soda Ban Opponents Bring Race Into the Debate

In case you hadn’t heard, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg won his battle with “big soda”, banning extra-large servings of sugar water via a unanimous City Board of Health vote. The ban will take effect in March, but this doesn’t mean the conflict is over–far from it. See, Coca-Cola may admit to making Americans fat, but the world’s biggest brand will continue to fight for its right to sell ridiculously oversized portions to anyone who cares to buy them.

Now comes the next phase–and big soda chose a very interesting PR approach this time by enlisting the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation to argue against the ban on racial terms. During the first courtroom arguments in the class action suit filed against Bloomberg and the city, representatives from these organizations argued that the ban would disproportionately “hurt small and minority-owned businesses while doing little to help health” and placing said businesses at a further disadvantage when compared to their larger rivals. Of course, soda also plays a crucial role in boosting obesity rates within minority communities, but we’ll just forget about that for now.

Here’s the real shocker: these groups don’t just receive lots of donations from Coke, Pepsi and other soft drink brands; they also give them awards for outstanding “corporate leadership”. This isn’t to say that social advocacy groups should be immune to the usual lobbying nonsense, but the completely unsurprising revelation does damage the credibility of this particular PR initiative while simultaneously diluting the larger and far more important mission of these civil rights advocacy groups. It’s very unfortunate.

One thing that does really bother us about this ban: it will exclude 7-Eleven, home of the famous “Big Gulp”. Why? Because, for some reason, the city can’t legally regulate convenience and supermarket chains (which are slowly smothering its classic bodegas). That’s just dumb.

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