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Volume 20 No. 42
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Coke joins Olympic sponsors targeting moms

When Coca-Cola’s global marketing team decided to develop an Olympic campaign that targets teens, the company’s North American unit felt it needed a complementary marketing strategy to hit another important customer group: moms.

The company this month is rolling out an Olympic-themed marketing effort that is designed to appeal to moms who are shopping, watching TV, surfing the Web and visiting big events. It’s all part of a concerted effort to use one of the company’s key marketing platforms, the Olympics, to connect with one of its biggest consumer groups.

Olympic Athletes

Shawn Johnson*, gymnast
Henry Cejudo*, wrestler
David Boudia, diver
Marlen Esparza, boxer
John Isner, tennis player
Jessica Long, Paralympic swimmer
Alex Morgan, soccer player
David Oliver*, hurdler

* Past Olympic medalists who did not qualify for the London Games.

“Moms in the U.S. are decision-makers, and we want to continue to push the way our company promotes healthy, active living, and we want to continue to do that through mom,” said Sharon Byers, Coca-Cola North America’s senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing partnerships.

The Olympics draw more female viewers than most sports events. During the 2008 Beijing Games, 49 percent of the viewers of the Olympic coverage on NBC were women ages 18 and older, and many of them were moms. That has led companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and others to develop marketing campaigns that speak directly to mothers.

Coca-Cola North America signed eight U.S. athletes (see chart) who form the backbone of its marketing in the U.S. The athletes are featured on limited-edition eight-pack cans, and the company developed five advertisements showcasing the athletes that will air on NBC throughout the Games. The spots were developed by Ogilvy & Mather, Wieden & Kennedy and Leo Burnett.

The packaging and advertising will be complemented by a digital initiative in which moms can use Coke Rewards points to enter a sweepstakes for the chance to have Olympic hurdler David Oliver visit their child’s school. The online campaign is designed to encourage families to be active.

Finally, the company has given its mobile sampling unit, known as the Coca-Cola Swelter Stopper, a renovation to include Olympic elements such as a photo station that allows visitors to take pictures in front of London backdrops and video screens with Olympics images. The 50-by-70-foot vehicle will visit 80 events such as last week’s Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and this week’s BB&T Atlanta Open tennis tournament. The company estimates that it will host approximately 400,000 consumers over the next month and a half.

Byers credited the multidimensional campaign, which includes retail, television, online and experiential elements, with helping Coke get more marquee retail space with
both national and local outlets. It has Olympic displays in market now with 130 different customers, which is far more than the 27 unique customer programs developed for the 2008 Beijing Games.

“The take-rate has been exponentially higher than Beijing,” Byers said. “That’s because it’s fully integrated. You can see the package come to life in TV commercials, you can meet David Oliver. There’s a lot of tenets [of the marketing program] that apply for many different customers.”

The domestic campaign complements the marketing program Coke developed called “Move to the Beat.” The global campaign is built around British music producer Mark Ronson, who has worked with artists such as Amy Winehouse. Ronson recorded the sounds of athletes competing and made a song out of it. Coke features the song-making process in a commercial campaign and directs consumers to a website where they can make songs of their own using sounds Ronson recorded.

Both Coke’s global “Move to the Beat” ads and Coca-Cola North America’s ads featuring athletes will air on NBC throughout the London Games.