Monthly Archives: May 2014

Here’s to putting the OH! in COKE

Aw, Coke, you can be so innovative when you want to be!
cocacola old bottle


Your classmates Frances and Alissa have shared two cool campaigns by Coke involving really clever innovations.

The first is involves giving Coke bottles a second life:

The other takes place before consumption:

What’s interesting about both of these is that they don’t appear to be company-wide initiatives; one is from Coke’s sustainability group and the other is an initiative in Columbia.

What do you think of them? What might Coke do to spread not just happiness, but innovation in more places?


It’s Pretty Sweet When Your Brand Mascot Is So Beloved It Has a Musical, Album, and Theme Park

Great story from about the love some Taiwanese shoppers have for its 7-11 stores’ mascot, Open-Chan:

open-chan 7_11 Taiwan mascot

7-Eleven’s Taiwanese mascot is so beloved that customers paid $46 each to see a musical about him, report Eva Dou and Jenny W. Hsu in The Wall Street Journal (5/18/14). The mascot, known as Open-Chan, is “an extraterrestrial dog from the planet Open,” and “also has a music album, shopping mall and theme park to his name.” “I just love Open-Chan so much,” says Huang Shulin, a customer. “I collect everything with his face on it. Dolls. Pens.”

Richard Kao, a businessman, shops at 7-Eleven in part just “to collect enough stickers to earn a limited-edition alarm clock prize.” “I want 20 of the clocks,” he says. “I will buy as much stuff as needed to get them.” Richard plans to give the clocks to his clients. “This is a meaningful gift,” he explains. “If you are willing to collect convenience store stickers for someone, it shows you really care.” Gifts aside, convenience stores do mean a lot in Taiwan, although no one seems to know exactly why.

Some say “it dates back to the Taiwanese general store, a fixture of life before the island became a modern economic powerhouse. Others say it comes from the busy Taiwanese lifestyle.” Sociology professor Yen-Fen Tseng thinks it is because the stores “have ingrained themselves as a part of the communities in each neighborhood.” “Convenience stores function as a community entrance,” she says. “They are comparable to the village temple in days of yore.”

Is there a comparable character in the West?

Frankly, I’m much more partial to Domo-kun, but that might be because he’s sweet, but with an edge. 😉

Domo 7-11


Updating Brand Associations

Not long ago, Xerox was branding itself as The Document Company–but that is a tough identity to own in an era of screens rather than reams (of paper). Xerox Logo


Enter a new campaign, billing Xerox as a process–rather than paper–based company. The new ads cluster under the title “Made Simple by Xerox.” 

Do they work to change brand associations?


More from Coke: Opening Happiness or a Hornet’s Nest?

Your classmate Iftekhar pointed me to an interesting example of Coke’s innovative “Open Happiness” campaign. The campaign, underway since 2009, involves a series of specially modified machines that create moments of delight for people all over the world.

So far, so good. But the example that Iftekhar sent me also made me uncomfortable. It features migrant workers in Dubai, who can’t afford to call their families. So Coke produced a special phone booth that takes bottle caps instead of coins!

While Iftekhar’s interpretation was that Coke is demonstrating its social responsibility and care for social welfare (and that’s undoubtedly what Coke was intending), I can’t help thinking about how the workers, who are sending all the money they can to their families back home, have to BUY and CONSUME COKE in order to use the machines…

…if Coke really wants to help, perhaps it could hire these men and pay them a living wage instead of encouraging them to buy more Coke.

Or am I just being too sensitive? What do you think?


Is Coke on coke?

The New York Times reported to day that a recent ad campaign for Diet Coke has been cancelled and replaced because it was being mocked in social media. According to the article:

The abrupt end for “You’re on” comes after the ads were sent up by several advertising and marketing bloggers who noticed that in some ads the theme appeared above the Diet Coke logo so that it could be read as “You’re on Diet Coke.” (In other ads, the order was reversed: “Diet Coke You’re on.”) According to the bloggers, “You’re on Diet Coke” evoked a cocaine habit along with the history of Diet Coke’s sibling, Coca-Cola, which once included cocaine as an ingredient. 

Meanwhile, the manager in charge of the campaign claimed that it was not a failure, but that the brand had decided to highlight different aspects of the product:

Asked why the campaign was concluding so suddenly if it was not a flop, [a company spokeswoman] said that the new ads offered “a different way to talk about the brand” that will “resonate with our core loyal followers…As for the drug-related criticism, “iconic brands always create a conversation,” Ms. Kronauge said. “We felt it was mostly limited to the marketing community.”

What do you think: should Diet Coke have withdrawn the ads because they were being questioned or mocked? Why or why not? 

You're on Coke