How Coca-Cola aims to double its consumers in the next few years

Today alone, 1.9 billion Coca-Cola products will be sold worldwide. Now, marketing director Manuel “Manolo” Arroyo aims to double his number of consumers very quickly.

“We are in the process of rolling out QR codes in every available package for all of our brands over the next three years,” Arroyo said. fast company. “QR codes are arguably the most untapped and undertapped media vehicle out there. Even if you only get a 3% refund, imagine the return on 1.9 billion a day, what we can do in terms of 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data in the future. A [strategy] globally, and it’s going to take us to very different places.

The key phrase is strategy. Coca-Cola operates in more than 200 countries around the world and, like many global companies, has traditionally operated with a complex network of marketing and advertising partners across its global operations. But last November, Arroyo teamed up with advertising company WPP to create a unique partnership that includes a bespoke in-house team dedicated to Coca-Cola Worldwide called OpenX. The CMO sees it as a key tool in achieving his overall goals for Coke’s flagship brand and for the company as a whole.

“First of all, it’s about making this brand an amazing, young and relevant icon and brand again,” says Arroyo. “But also to exploit tremendous growth potential. We should be able to double this mark [consumer base] very soon if we do it right, and if we do it very differently from what we have done in the last 20 years. I think we have a very clear idea of ​​what it takes to get there.

An important part of this idea is for OpenX to help its business be more consistent and effective in its marketing and advertising, globally. Coke spent more than $4 billion on global advertising in 2019. It saw spending drop 35% in 2020 but has since returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“Even though we’ve reshaped our portfolio into something more targeted, we still have over 200 brands around the world, and we’ve come from an incredibly fragmented mode of marketing,” Arroyo says. “Instead of having one-off campaigns that change quarterly, [we want to have] permanent and continuous platforms. We know we’re going to be celebrating Christmas for the next five years, so we don’t need five different memories for Christmas. We just need a platform and then update and shape it according to the [consumer] The data.”

In February, the company launched its “Coca-Cola Creations” campaign for Coke, which included a “space-flavored” cola, which is part of an all-encompassing global marketing platform the company calls “Real Magic.” And in May, he launched a new global campaign for Sprite (the first created entirely by OpenX) called “Heat Happens”.

The idea of ​​a bespoke advertising company team for a massive client is not new. Omnicom Group created the We Are Unlimited team in 2016, at the time to serve McDonald’s (folded in 2019), as well as Team X last year for Mercedes-Benz. WPP itself has already tried these models, in 2006 with Team One for Ford and Team Energy for BP.

The basic idea is that a global advertising holding company, with its many agencies and specialties, combines its capabilities into a single bespoke entity for a major client. It is an idea that reached trending status a few years ago, only for some brands to revert to a more traditional multi-agency model. (In the United States, for example, Ford and McDonald’s chose independent agency Wieden + Kennedy for major advertising work.) Prior to OpenX, Coca-Cola worked with approximately 4,000 different partner agencies around the world. Arroyo and Laurent Ezekiel, CEO of OpenX and director of marketing and growth for WPP, insist that things will be different this time.

The key is a single point of contact, as well as a single P&L, giving Coke a simple partnership format and preventing different WPP stakeholders from competing internally for parts of the business – two things that have often blurred these types of partnerships in the past.

Last year, Domino’s marketing director, Art D’Elia, praised the simplicity of an independent agency partner versus the complexity of a holding company, narrative Adage“I really think the independent agency model gives us more flexibility and fewer distractions.”

Another important development of the OpenX model is that it not only allows, but insists, that if a competing outside agency can help, OpenX is obligated to collaborate. It’s all about finding the best job possible for Coke and removing as many obstacles to finding it.

“In a partnership like this with WPP, they’re putting the skin in the game on our metric — expanding our consumer base — and that will define The Coca-Cola Company’s success in marketing,” Arroyo says. “And they are ready to be compensated or penalized, depending on their mutual success. Laurent’s achievement will therefore be the same as the one I report to my CEO. I tell my team that we can architect the future here, truly writing a new page in marketing history.

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