Review the “Marketing Excellence: Coca-Cola” case study uploaded. Reflect on the successes that Coca-Cola has had with respect to its new product introductions. What would you recommend in the future with respect to not only new product introductions but also mass communication methods? As you analyze, think about how Coca-Cola can most effectively reach multiple target markets.
Journal entry must be at least 250 words in length. No references or citations are necessary.
Marketing Excellence Coca-Cola
When it comes to mass marketing, perhaps no one does it better than Coca-Cola. Coke is the most
popular and best-selling product in the world. With an annual marketing budget of $3 billion and annual
sales exceeding $30 billion, the brand tops the Interbrand ranking of the best brands year after year.
Today, the company reaches consumers in more than 200 countries and has a brand value of $79 billion.
In fact, it is such a global phenomenon that its name is the second-most understood word in the world
The history of Coke’s success is impressive from any perspective. The drink was invented in 1886 by Dr.
John S. Pemberton, who mixed a syrup of his own invention with carbonated water to cure headaches.
The company’s first president turned the product into a pop culture phenomenon by distributing it to
pharmacists around the world and engaging consumers through Coca-Cola–branded clocks, posters, and
Coca-Cola believed early on that to gain worldwide acceptance, the brand needed to accomplish two
things: connect emotionally and socially with the masses and ensure that it was “within arm’s-length of
desire.” So the company focused on gaining extensive distribution and making the product beloved by
all. In World War II, it proclaimed, “every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for 5 cents,
wherever he is, and whatever it costs the company.” This strategy helped introduce the soft drink
around the world as well as connecting consumers emotionally with a positive message during a time of
How did Coca-Cola become so much bigger than any of its competitors? The company not only creates
uplifting global campaigns better than anyone; it also translates them brilliantly across different
countries, languages, and cultures. Coke’s advertising has primarily focused on its ability to quench thirst
and connect people no matter who they are or how they live. One of Coca-Cola’s most memorable and
successful commercials was called “Hilltop” and featured the song, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”
Launched in 1971, the ad featured young adults from all over the world sharing a happy moment and a
common bond (holding a Coke) on a hillside in Italy. It touched so many consumers that the song
became a top-10 hit single later that year.
Coca-Cola’s television commercials still convey the message of universal connection over a Coke. The
company’s 2014 Super Bowl ad featured “America the Beautiful” sung in nine different languages—
English, Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres (a language of the Pueblo people), French,
and Arabic—showing that people of different ethnicities can connect through their love for the United
States and Coca-Cola. Other commercials take a lighthearted tone to appeal to a younger audience. In
one spot, a group of young adults sit around a campfire laughing, playing the guitar, and passing around
a bottle of Coke. The bottle reaches a slimy, one-eyed alien who takes a sip and passes the bottle along.
When the next drinker wipes the slime off in disgust, the music stops and the group stares at him in
disappointment. The man hands the bottle back to the alien to get re-slimed and then drinks from it,
and the music and the party continue in perfect harmony.
Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola’s global head of content and advertising, explained the continued
importance of TV ads: “The role of TV will never go from the Coca-Cola company; TV has a unique set of
attributes in a marketing campaign that other media just cannot give us but I just don’t think it should
be the starting point.” The company’s mass communications strategy thus mixes a wide range of media
including television, radio, print, social, in-store, digital, billboard, public relations, events,
paraphernalia, and even its own museum. Its target audience and reach are so massive that choosing
the right media and marketing message is critical, despite having a $3 billion marketing budget.
Coca-Cola uses big events to hit huge audiences; it has sponsored the Olympics since 1928 and
advertises during the Super Bowl. The company targets younger consumers through efforts like 1.3
million tweets each quarter and strategic product placements including the judges’ red Coke or Diet
Coke cups placed front and center during American Idol. And it spends more than $1 billion a year on
sports sponsorships such as NASCAR and the World Cup.
The delicate balance between Coca-Cola’s local and global marketing is crucial; the campaigns must be
relevant and translate well on a local scale. In China, for example, the company has given its regional
managers control over advertising so they can include appropriate cultural messages. One executive
explained, “Creating effective marketing at a local level in the absence of global scale can lead to huge
inefficiencies.” In 2006, for example, Coca-Cola ran two campaigns during the FIFA World Cup as well as
several local campaigns. In 2010, it ran a single World Cup campaign in more than 100 markets.
Company executives estimated that the latter, global, strategy’s efficiency saved it more than
Despite its unprecedented success, Coca-Cola is not infallible. In 1985, in perhaps the worst product
launch ever, the company introduced New Coke—a sweeter concoction of the original secret formula.
Consumers instantly rejected it, and sales plummeted. Three months later, Coca-Cola relaunched the
original formula under the name Coca-Cola Classic, to the delight of customers everywhere. Then-CEO
Roberto Goizueta stated, “The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer
research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment
to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people.”
Coca-Cola’s success at marketing a product on such a global, massive scale is unique. Despite the ups
and downs of soft-drink trends over the years, no brand is so universally available, universally accepted,
and universally loved as Coca-Cola.