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.
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.
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.
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