22 Feb 2017

The Business of Happiness

An Indonesian migrant worker in Dubai steps in a phone booth to call his family. He reaches for his pocket, removes a Coca-Cola bottle-cap and gently places it into the slot. Suddenly, an image appears on the screen telling him that he has a minute worth of call credit. No, this isn’t any regular phone booth, its part of the Coca-Cola  ‘Happiness Campaign’. This ad, which was posted on YouTube reached nearly 3 million views in just six months.

Coca-Cola looks critically at issues in communities and turns them into opportunities to improve the situation by spreading happiness. For instance, a recent campaign tackled the political tension between India and Pakistan. For many years relations between these two countries, who were both created after the end of the British Raj (rule), have been overshadowed by conflict and disagreement. Taking such a sensitive issue head-on is a daunting task, yet the Coca-Cola team was able to combat division and mistrust and create harmony and love (watch the video to see for yourself).

Heralded as one of the best marketing strategies in recent years, the “Happiness Campaign” takes creative storytelling to a whole new level. It’s loaded with inspiration, because it tells a story that people can relate with. The result? A highly emotional and engaging feeling that doesn’t just build significant brand equity; it makes the consumer fall in love with Coca-Cola all over again.

Has it worked? Lets look at how Coca-Cola performed in 2013.

Coca-Cola infographic

Coca-Cola finished the year with over 90 million Facebook page likes; more than double its direct competitor, PepsiCo’s 34 million. The company dropped to third after 13 consecutive years at the number one spot on the Forbes top 100 brands list coming in close behind Apple and Google and securing its position as the only beverage company in the top 20. It’s “share a coke” campaign won the company the Cannes Lions international Festival of Creativity “Creative Marketer of the year” award. It was a year of wins for the company.

Despite the success of the Happiness Campaign, Coca-Cola faces a number of challenges in the future. The most apparent, would be the precipitous decline in carbonated beverages especially in North America. Obesity, diabetes and other weight related health issues have soared since 1999 resulting in large, widespread anti-obesity campaigns demonizing fast food and carbonated soft drinks as the cause. In response, many healthier options offering fewer calories and less sugar are now on the market. Popular culture is moving away from sugary and highly carbonated beverages as consumers are opting for healthier options.  In any case, Coca-Cola has several things going for them, most importantly the company’s ability to sell emotion with its drinks. Only time will tell how Coca-Cola forges ahead in the future.

Until then Coca-Cola fans are left wondering, where will happiness strike next? Lagos perhaps.

Author: admin

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