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How Coca-Cola Built Its Liquid, Linked Social Campaign for Olympics 2016

Coca-Cola is the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympics, going back almost 88 years. The company first sponsored the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, and has supported every Olympics game since.

Coca-cola Uk's Ad for Olympics 1948 Showcasing Their Longstanding Relationship with the Games
Coca-Cola ad for Olympics 1948, showcasing their long-standing relationship with the Games

The brand has come a long way since, as has advertising, from radio and print in the 1920s to digital media today. In the last four years, since London 2012, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram have also seen exponential growth, making this year’s Games truly the “most social games ever.

Back in 2013, explaining what she learned from the London Olympics, Coca-Cola’s Christy Amador, a senior communications manager, said that the brand likes content ideas to be liquid (flexible) and linked (linked together, regardless of the channels used).

The Social Marketer’s Content Optimization Cheat Sheet

Coca-Cola’s campaign for this year’s Olympics has both these qualities, hitting on emotional, inspirational, and aspirational sweet spots for consumers. The campaign uses footage of more than 70 athletes from all over the world, across a wide variety of sports. Short snippets of the ad are being used for the brand’s digital media platforms.

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On Twitter alone, in the first week since the Games began, the brand has reached over 31 million consumers, with over 105 million potential impressions. Here is how Coca-Cola is deploying its liquid, linked campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  1. Being Human and NOT Selling the Drink Both pieces of creative from Coca-Cola for this year’s Olympics–the hashtag #thatsgold and the ad tagline “Together is Beautiful”–promote optimism and inclusion. These values are core to Coca-Cola. They do not ask consumers to buy a drink at any point, but instead put celebration, achievement, and togetherness on display, irrespective of  religion and race.

This resonates with consumers, as well. The #thatsgold hashtag garnered close to 4,000 mentions on Twitter alone in the first week of the Games, with many consumers tagging important moments of their lives with #thatsgold.

2. Creating Timely Content to Capture Euphoria – Coca-Cola has a strong understanding of its consumers. They know that people don’t just want to be spectators; people want to be able to engage. That’s why Coca-Cola has been publishing content in almost real time to commemorate what is happening at the Games. This facilitates a connection between the brand and its consumers in the very moment of excitement and happiness. Coca-Cola’s posts do not just congratulate athletes and teams–they create content that drives engagement around the event, as well.

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  1. Consistent Messaging – Coca-Cola did not just come up with the hashtag #thatsgold–they backed it up with a visually stunning physical activation, which includes Coca-Cola in commemorative gold aluminum bottles (sold in limited edition) and the golden logo with the Olympics rings across their social media channels to tie the message together.

FB COke gold
  1. Creating Diverse Collateral for a Wider Audience – Coca-Cola has been creating various content–GIFs, videos, surveys, photos, and creative illustrations–in order to make sure their messaging is relevant and tailored to the audience they are targeting. Videos from the brand have generated the most engagement of any content type, driving over 58% of engagement across all channels.

How This Strategy Is Working for Coca-Cola on Social Networks

While the brand has been posting most on Twitter and has consistently been able to engage with its audience, Instagram is the platform where Coca-Cola’s audience has been engaging most per post, followed by Facebook*.  

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.49.50 PMWhat Type of Content is Working

As mentioned above, Instagram is the most engaging platform for Coca-Cola. The brand’s consumers engage most with posts that include photos and videos. A majority of Coca-Cola’s content on Twitter has been plain Tweets, but few Tweets that the brand released with photos generated much engagement. On Facebook and Instagram, video content was most engaging.


The Most Engaging Content

Coca-Cola’s top two most engaging pieces of content are both on Instagram and are both related to the brand’s Olympic campaign #thatsgold.

(Total Engagement: 10,879)  

(Total Engagement: 9,054)   

So, What About the Audience?

Coca-Cola activated #thatsgold in July and re-aired the ad “Together Is Beautiful” during NBC’s televised coverage of the Opening Ceremonies of the Rio Olympics. In the week before the Olympics, Coca-Cola’s messaging was already resonating with consumers online, driving high engagement on social media (daily engagement was up 37.6% in the week before the Games). In the first week after the Games began, Coca-Cola has seen an uptick in audience engagement per post across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Coca-Cola is doing a great job connecting with and growing its audience on social media. In our earlier post about Coca-Cola’s social media strategy, we learned the primary tactics that the brand uses to connect with its audience.

Coca-Cola’s Olympics campaign applies most of those tactics and has gotten even more creative to remain relevant to its current audience of over 17.3 million on Facebook (US), Twitter, and Instagram, making it one of the most valuable brands in the world.

Tripti Shrivastava

I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!

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