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SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40
Forty Under 40
Published March 21, 2011, Page 42A
“I am a football fanatic, and I was wondering what would be the best way to participate in [the World Cup],” Seuge said. “I sent my résumé to all of the [World Cup] sponsors and Coke chose me.”
Seuge never returned to school full time. He instead took a marketing position with Coke, finishing his degree by attending night classes and developing a sports marketing module for the school. Now 35 and the director of Coke’s global sports and entertainment marketing department, Seuge says it was a life-changing decision. “I love sports, I love music, I love to work on major projects, and now I am doing it for the largest brand in the world,” he said. “I am passionate about [my job] and I feel lucky to be doing it.”
Since then Seuge has worked on four World Cups and five Olympics. In 2006, he moved from overseeing Coke France to work for the brand’s global push in Atlanta. And in 2010, he oversaw Coke’s entire integrated marketing campaign for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. For the 2010 World Cup, Seuge and his team crafted a campaign that revolved around Cameroon soccer star Roger Milla’s 1990 post-goal celebratory dance. The campaign, called “Open Happiness,” included the creation of the anthem “Wavin’ Flag,” which Seuge’s team produced alongside Somali hip-hop artist K’naan. Coke recorded the song in 17 languages, and the song sold 2.5 million copies.
When Seuge attends a sports event, he and his team try to pinpoint “Coke moments” — instances when large groups of people are connected by a common passion for the sport. In 2006, Seuge saw tens of thousands of German fans watch games at live public viewings, and for 2010 Coke implemented 732 of these public viewings around the globe.
“How fans transform into spontaneous and celebrating happy people in the context of football,” Seuge said, “that is a strategic space that we want to tap into.”
Title: Group director, worldwide sports & entertainment marketing
company: Coca-Cola Co.
Education: Marketing and economics, École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris
Family: Married with two kids
Career: 14 years at Coca-Cola
||Last vacation: Bahia in Brazil
What's on your iPod: Hip-hop and jazz
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate
Best stress release: The beach
Pet peeve: Lack of honesty and injustice
Greatest achievement: My family
Business advice: Under-promise and over-deliver