Kapil Ohri

Coke's digital expedition before turning to TV

For the first time in its marketing history in India, the cola company has launched its upcoming TVC on the digital medium a few days before it goes live on TV channels. It aims to make the TV ad available to more than 4 million digital media users before it broadcasts on TV.

On December 2, Coca-Cola India released its next TV commercial (TVC), called Shadow, featuring Bollywood actor Imran Khan. Surprisingly, the TVC was not aired on any of the TV channels. In fact, the ad film has been unveiled exclusively on web and mobile platforms. The TVC will be launched on TV channels in the next few days, most probably after December 10.

"This is the first time that Coca-Cola India has launched a TV commercial on the digital platform, before airing it on TV channels," says Anand Singh, director, marketing (colas), Coca-Cola India, in a conversation with afaqs!. Coca-Cola plans to spend up to 20 per cent of its marketing budget of this TV campaign on digital media, Singh claims.

Coke's digital expedition before turning to TV
Online, the TVC is accessible on a microsite created especially for the TV campaign at cokeshadow.in. Web users can reach the site, watch the TVC and share it with their friends on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Though the TVC is made available online, we will push it actively and mainly through the mobile platform," Singh says. The TVC will be distributed to mobile users through SMS and Bluetooth marketing.

The link of the TVC (available on mobile) and the microsite will be messaged to a large section of its target audience (age group of 15-24 years). It will also be served to subscribers of two multi-media messaging platforms, SMS2.0 and Blyk.

"An interactive Coke banner, saying 'Watch Imran before anyone else does' or 'Get a sneak peek at the new Coke ad featuring Imran before anyone else does it on TV!' will be served as footer and full screen mobile ads to targeted SMS2.0 subscribers. The banner ad allows users to click on it to watch the TVC on the mobile handset and will provide options to share it on Facebook and Twitter," says Anuj Kumar, executive director (South Asia), Affle, the company which owns SMS2.0.

For the uninitiated, SMS2.0 is a text messaging application for GPRS-enabled mobile phones. Users can download this free application from the mobile operator's portal. Once downloaded, SMS2.0 allows users to compose and send messages in the usual way. The difference is that it displays a banner ad at the bottom of the screen while composing or reading a message, and a full screen ad during the process of sending the message.

Apart from SMS, the new Coca-Cola ad will also be delivered directly to mobile phone users through Bluetooth marketing even before it breaks on TV, adds Singh. The Bluetooth marketing is being handled by Bengaluru based mobile solutions company TeliBrahma.

"In the initial days, we will use our Bluetooth marketing network called BluFi to deliver the TV ad to consumers who visit shopping malls and Cafe Coffee Day, Barista and Shopper's Stop outlets in Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai," says Suresh Narsimha, chief executive officer, TeliBrahma.

The mobile solutions firm expects to reach/distribute the Coke TVC to a few thousand users through its BluFi network in the next few days.

"Overall, we are targeting to reach and make the TVC available to more than 4 million users via the digital medium, before the ad film is broadcasted on TV channels," says Singh.

Singh adds, "We have not released the upcoming Coke TVC on the digital platform first to gauge or pre-test its effectiveness. Instead, the idea is to reach or showcase the TVC directly to our target audience (youth), who like to try out new products and services first. The objective is to generate a buzz around the new Coke ad by offering the target audience a chance to view the ad before anyone else and create a viral effect thereof."

The digital campaign of Coca-Cola is coordinated by Reprise Media.

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