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Goafest: Jonathan Mildenhall: Spreading across the globe

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, Goa | In Advertising | April 21, 2012
The second session of Day One of the Knowledge Seminar at the Goafest saw Jonathan Mildenhall, vice-president, global advertising strategy and creative excellence, Coca-Cola emphasise on the concept of 'Content 2020' - the company's marketing and advertising bible.

The second session of Day One of the Knowledge Seminar at the Goafest held at the Zuri White Sands, Goa, on April 20 saw Jonathan Mildenhall, vice-president, global advertising strategy and creative excellence, Coca-Cola emphasise on the concept of 'Content 2020' - a marketing and advertising bible followed by the beverage company.

Jonathan Mildenhall

Sanjay Behl

He started the session by providing various examples of advertising and marketing initiatives of Coca-Cola across markets, which were weaved around the concept of 'Content 2020'. He said, "Thums Up, the masculine cola drink from the company, is a great example of branded content. The Indian team's decision to join hands with adventure-based reality show Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi on Colors proved to be a great success story, as the beverage brand was noticed by consumers throughout the time the show was aired. Also, the high-adrenaline show matched the characteristics of the brand."

Citing an example, he said that Coca-Cola understood the emotional needs of its consumers as well, and therefore provided a few people from the Philippines, who were working abroad and had not visited their dear ones for five-10 years, a chance to spend Christmas with their family. "The activity helped to create a strong emotional connect between brand Coca-Cola and its consumers," added Mildenhall.

The session next took an interesting turn, with Sanjay Behl, group head, brand and marketing, Reliance Communications asking Mildenhall whether the marketers' role will change, given the vulnerability of liquid content.

To this, Mildenhall replied, "The biggest challenge for us is how to curate conversation and user-generated content and for any brand, the rule is pretty simple. A brand should be very conscious and try and edit negative comments on it."

He then cited Coca-Cola's experience with Facebook. "Our Facebook page has about 40 million followers currently. A couple of years ago, people protesting against the consumption of cola used the page to spread their word against the brand and we were left in the dilemma of whether we should pull the curtains for the page or continue. However, we realised that consumers' perception about the brand still remained solid and positive, and therefore there was no need to shut the page. So, if a brand inspires good conversation, the negativity surrounding it automatically dies," explained Mildenhall.

Jonathan Mildenhall and Sanjay Behl

Next, Mildenhall urged brands to be a lot more open about communication as it shows an honest side of the brand. He gave the example of behind-the-scenes videos shot during the time of shooting press campaign for the forthcoming London Olympics.

Behl also asked if the traditional 30-second television commercial was losing its relevance and if there was an emergence of two different sets of eco-systems for brands. Mildenhall answered, "I truly believe that the 30-second commercial will be the death of the advertising industry. The industry needs to learn how to re-purpose the 30-second commercial, in terms that a creative idea should not begin from the TVC and rather come from another high place."

Mildenhall once again stressed on the need for ideas that drive interactivity and conversations between brands and consumers, and how the advertising world needs to move beyond TVCs to start a conversation.

Click here to see videos and pictures of Goafest 2012.

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