SBD/July 9, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Coca-Cola Localizes Olympic Campaign In China To Better Relate To Market

IOC TOP sponsor Coca-Cola has “tweaked” its Olympic campaign and “created one of the few localized versions” in China, according to Anita Chang Beattie of AD AGE. The "Beat of China" campaign taps into the “national pride abundant among young Chinese, urging fans to submit their own beats to help create an anthem to cheer on their athletes competing far away from home.” Coca-Cola Sparkling Beverages Dir for Greater China and Korea Marina Palma said, “Previous research showed that after the huge success and high relevance of '08 (the Beijing Olympics), there was a perceived distance between Chinese people and London. The main task was to close that emotional and physical distance in a relevant way.” Chang Beattie reported the result is a marketing effort that “includes mini-documentaries featuring the personal stories of five Chinese Olympians, calls to action across various media urging consumers to submit their own beats on a dedicated website, a traveling roadshow, special Coke cans and even an Angry Birds game.” The campaign “launched in April at the Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, featuring a performance of the official Coke anthem by Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung.” An updated version of the song “will be released on July 12, incorporating the beats submitted by consumers.” Coca-Cola data showed that the mini-documentaries “were viewed 320 million times within two weeks.” The company “set a goal to collect 100 million beats, but consumers have submitted more than 180 million, with a few more days to go.” Leo Burnett Exec Creative Dir Gordon Hughes, whose company created the campaign, said, “In the past, there was a tendency to lionize these athletes, to make them into heroic figures. Our first task was to humanize them.” Palma said that since the campaign launched, Coca-Cola “has seen marked increases in brand preference and share gains” (, 7/6).
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