Sunday, 6 March 2011

Share Happiness with Coca-Cola

In 2010, the world's largest beverage company had a successful PR campaign called Expedition 206, which was considered as the largest social media project that Coca Cola ever launched. Three "happiness ambassadors" were chosen through social websites and their mission was to travel 206 countries where Coca Cola is sold, and to report and document what makes people happy around the world via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Typepad and other social websites.

The whole PR campaign sounds a little familiar to everybody. Firstly, the process of choosing "happiness ambassadors" reminds me of some similar campaign such as choosing the suitable island caretaker for Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Although the purposes of those two campaigns were totally different, the overall ideas are similar - publicise product and place by choosing suitable candidates through traditional and digital media. Secondly, traveling 206 countries reminds me of "The Ford Fiesta Movement". Both of the two campaigns shared a lot of similarities: a.The world travellers were all chosen from internet users; b. The traveling routes were the places where their products were sold; c. The purpose of traveling was to spread a certain concept.

However, the most distinguish feature of Expedition 206 was the widely use of social media - almost all of the mainstream social websites were used by this campaign. Different social websites have different ways communicating to various groups of internet users. The full use of various social websites enables a broader group of people from all over the world taking part in this campaign.

Take China as an example,Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all baned in China, Coca Cola turned its focus on the most popular instant messaging provider in China - QQ. During the World Expo 2010, by uploading smiling faces, Chinese internet users could vote for the best one to become "Chinese Happiness Ambassador",who could have the chance to meet three "World Happiness Ambassadors" in "Shanghai World Expo 2010 Coca Cola Day". QQ also opened a blog for these world happiness ambassadors in order to share their experience to Chinese people. As a result, there were more than 1 million of Chinese people have taken part in this campaign;One hundred and eighty thousand people have visited the campaign blog. According to Anne Carelli, Senior Manager Digital Communication,"We have been extremely pleased with the success it's had in the different markets.The program created more visibility for the brand in key markets like China".

As far as I am concerned, the idea of Coca Cola's Expidition 206 campaign was not that creative and novel, however, Coca Cola made it at its best.

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