Coke: Don't forget ‘real world’ in digital race

MWL 2012: Marketers must not forget the “real world” physical interaction consumers have with their brands in the rush to employ the latest digital marketing tools, according to Coca-Cola’s top marketer in the UK, Zoe Howorth.

zoe howorth

Speaking at Marketing Week Live in London today (27 June), Howorth stressed the importance of in-store marketing and packaging design.

“We never forget what it feels like to walk down the aisle at Tesco or go to the corner shop and the effort we put into point-of-purchase.”

Howorth adds that strong pack design is also key in a campaign that may be shared online. “The more it is shared, the more it disappears, so you need a strong visual identity.

“If you don’t have those real-world experiences, how will [consumers] post on Facebook and have those life-time memories?” Howorth added.

Coke, which is a worldwide Olympic partner, is sponsoring the torch relay and backing this with more than 60 concerts on each of the days of its leg of the route.

The tough economic climate and poor summer weather in the UK has affected sales, she admitted, in spite of its marketing efforts. The torch relay, however, is helping to ‘kick off momentum’ sales-wise, she added.

Meanwhile, Howorth admitted that it underestimated the time it would take to create its Olympic ‘story’ and that it should have started sooner. Its music-themed “Move to the Beat” activity features producer Mark Ronson.

She added the team is feeling tired with the amount of content it is creating around the Games. It has put together 60 pieces of content, compared to six, which it created during its sponsorship of the 2006 World Cup.

Readers' comments (3)

  • So true.

    I think that Social Media is great for connecting with consumers, but it must fit into a larger strategy, to make sense holistically.

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  • Our figures (from The British Marketing Survey) back up the idea that the 'Real' world is still more important than the digital one for the majority of consumers. Perhaps marketers have got a little 'carried away' with digital and forget that 'marketing people' represent a very small minority of consumers.
    Looking at the population as a whole 'real world' influences to purchase are still the most important.

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  • Great to hear that at least some marketers are not getting over-excited and carried away by digital.
    As with all good marketing, it is about integration and single-minded consistent messaging that ends in purchase.

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