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Expedition 206: Coca-Cola’s Happiness Ambassadors Spread the Joy

As part of its new “Open Happiness” campaign, Coca-Cola will send three “Happiness Ambassadors” on a year-long expedition to 206 countries (where Coca-Cola is present). After extensive search, Coca-Cola has narrowed its ambassadors to 3 teams of 3. Beginning today, 10/21/09, consumers are encouraged to go online and vote to determine who the three travelers will be.

The chosen bloggers will explore different cultures while blogging, posting updates on Twitter, adding videos to YouTube, and uploading pictures to Flickr in hopes to generate talk and buzz around the happiness campaign. The ambassadors will meet with locals and learn about their culture while uncovering what makes people happy. They will even take part in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, FIFA World cup in South Africa, and the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, all of which Coca-Cola sponsors.
 

 

A recent Forbes article quotes Director of Coca-Cola’s Office of Digital Communications and Social Media, Adam Brown, “It’s not about having the Coca-Cola brand first and foremost, center of the screen. It’s about telling the story that involves Coca-Cola, that involves the attributes of what Coca-Cola is about, optimism and joy." 

This campaign is a perfect example of how brands can engage consumers through all the social media elements. Throughout the year-long journey, the ambassadors will constantly be engaging the consumers by sharing videos, blogs and photos. They will also be taking consumer suggestions at their destinations as to areas they will visit. In a Coca-Cola press release, Adam Brown continues, “This mash-up of social media – online photo galleries, video clips, blogs, microblogs, social networking – combined with an amazing journey, enthusiastic travelers and a theme of happiness is a great way for us to connect with people around the world. The global adoption of social media has given us a way to deliver a year-long reality TV series without the TV.”

As Brown stated, this campaign allows for a vast array of content opportunities, even upon the ambassadors return from their explorations. With the immense increase in video sharing over the past year, Coca-Cola will be able to leverage all the social media sites to reach a large target.

Who knows, maybe someday these bloggers will gain "celebrity" status in the blogosphere, all thanks to Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” campaign. For now, they have, at least, earned an all expense paid tour of the World’s greatest countries!

 

 

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Skittles: Brand Takes on Social Media

UPDATE: Too much negativity and offensive remarks forced Skittles Twitter page to come down from their homepage. Looks like Facebook is stepping up its role sooner than you think.

 

I’m sure news of Skittles.com has just about reached every person in packaged goods, marketing, and advertising industries, and by now posting about it seems almost too ordinary. While the new Skittles.com is certainly taking a lot of credit for being a first mover as a packaged good brand, its interface is not as user-friendly and intuitive as its predecessor Modernista.com (an ad agency). And while the buzz is overwhelmingly about Skittles, it’s important to realize just how important of a role each social media site plays to promote the brand. Twitter = real time brand pulse. Wikipedia = library of facts on brand and products. Facebook = community of fans to receive all forms of brand messaging. Flickr = library of photos that portray the beauty of Skittles. YouTube = video content to entertain. 

 

 

As Doug Scott puts it, “this is the kind of distributed content strategy we need to be pursuing for our clients."

 

According WSJ.com, the Skittles.com homepage will change between social media sites depending on what’s generating more buzz (i.e., a commercial on YouTube, event photo gallery on Flickr, news for Wikipedia, etc.). Skittles has officially put all these major sites in an equal playing field, and uncertainty lies in which one will create a higher quality of engagement. After all, Twitter may be in the center of attention now, but when people get tired of all the spam messages and exit their honeymoon phases, sites like Facebook and YouTube will certainly take their turn in the Skittles.com homepage hot seat. What’s important is that whichever rises to the top, others will complement as part of a supportive distribution platform. Gotta love social media!

 

Going on a tangent, with all the Skittles buzz, I’m sure Twitter’s “no rush, whiteboard” approach to monetization development will soon be experiencing immense pressure to “rush the no rush.”

 

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