One Brand strategy will bring in consistency: Rodolfo Echeverria of The Coca-Cola

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani | Updated on January 19, 2018

RODOLFO ECHEVERRIA, Vice-President-Global Creative, Connections &Digital, The Coca-Cola Company

In what is being seen as a major overhaul of its communication strategy, beverage major, Coca-Cola Company has recently launched the “One Brand” global marketing programme that for the first time unites all variants such as Diet Coca-Cola (Coca-Cola Light), Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life, in one global creative campaign under the Coca-Cola brand positioning. The campaign, which comes with the tagline, “Taste the Feeling” will soon hit India across platforms. Rodolfo Echeverria, Vice-President-Global Creative, Connections & Digital, The Coca-Cola Company, talks about the reasons behind the shift in strategy and how the “One Brand” idea may also translate to changes in product packaging in the future. Edited excerpts:

What are the key reasons for this shift in marketing strategy that will now position products, such as Coca Cola Zero or Diet Coca Cola, as variants rather than sub-brands?

We believe that proliferation of different brand personalities for variants undermines the original promise that “Coca-Cola is for everyone” with no distinction of age, nationality or income. So, one of the key reasons is to bring in consistency in messaging.

The second key reason is that it is more productive to extend the global equity and iconic appeal of one mother brand — Coca-Cola — to all the variants of the family. It is easier to manage one big brand, rather than different sub-brands.

Also, we really want to push the notion of choice and make sure we facilitate and enable access in a better way to our lower calorie variants across the globe.

For instance, in a market like Argentina, a teenager would never see the commercial for Coca Cola Light, because of the media placements of those ads in the soaps at 9 p.m., targeted at women.

But, with this new campaign, even teens will get to consider low-calorie variants as we are now also pushing these variants in an effective way.

As part of this marketing campaign, Coca-Cola will release 10 global television commercials and over 100 images across geographies rather than country-specific ones. Will this campaign bring in substantial savings in terms of marketing budgets?

Rather than savings, we are talking about productivity, which includes the notion of saving money here and re-investing it somewhere else.

Overall, what we are aiming at is fuelling spending of more consumer-facing marketing dollars, rather than spending it in production.

For instance, if we make one commercial that can travel across geographies, we can avoid doing seven different commercials for one single concept that says — “Coca-Cola is good with meals”. The beauty of this strategy, which we have tested for nearly 11 months, is that countries across the globe will be using the same material.

But, if one looks at the packaging of Diet Coca Cola or Coca Cola Zero, colours like silver or black are dominantly displayed rather than the colour red, which represents Coca-Cola. Will the “One brand” campaign also mean changes in product packaging?

We are thinking about how to not only extend the philosophical iconography or the strengths of brand Coca-Cola, to all the variants, but also bring it alive through some physical evidence or what we call the visual assets…. So, at one point, we want the packaging to also be one of the elements that communicates “One Brand” strategy visually. We have done some pilots from the learning point of view, and we have what we call the split red cans (which have red at the bottom and either silver, black or green at the top). All I can say right now is that we are working on an expression for our integrated marketing campaign, which may also translate to packaging.

Is this the first time that the company has launched a campaign that has visuals with the Instagram approach, which can be shared and customised via GIF (a digital photo format)?

Yes, this campaign does have a significant focus on new ways of marketing. The Instagram approach works at two levels. One, the way we treated the content, say, the pictures, which makes the campaign all about moments.

Have you seen the way children are living their lives now? They look at a very global perspective but by capturing one moment at time.

So, we have taken the Instagram vision approach to get the intimacy of moments…. From the media perspective, we expect this campaign to be visible not only on flat screens but also on mobile screens.

We expect global digital interaction with consumers through ‘GIF, The Feeling’ but also through local activations and regional nuances.

(The writer was in Hong Kong at the invitation of Coca-Cola)

Published on January 29, 2016

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