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Bonding with the brand

heinekenBeyond sales data alone, how are shoppers participating with brands, and how is technology powering the interaction?

Last issue, we looked at how marketing has shifted from measuring success in concepts like frequency and reach, to actual participation. This trend can be seen internationally.

For example, no campaign resonates more clearly with it than the global Coca-Cola ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign – rolled out within months of the Google Micro-moments report – with the tagline ‘Making simple, everyday moments more special’.

The lead commercial, Anthem, presents a series of moments linked by Coca-Cola, such as ice-skating with friends, a first date, a first kiss and a first love. If you play the video for Google Micro-moments, and follow it with the Coca-Cola commercial, it is almost ‘spot the difference’. In Australia, the accompanying digital and event-based campaign harnessed Google technologies so shoppers could enjoy an ice-cold Coca-Cola delivered to their parties, barbecues and picnics, and share the ‘everyday moments captured’ on social media.

New level

In Amsterdam, Heineken took location-based marketing to a new level by turning bottles into GPS devices that led tourists who picked them up to the Heineken Experience Brewery. The bottles lit up and vibrated when touched, then cap-swivelled directions, surprising and delighting unsuspecting tourists.

‘Handing out flyers is not very Heineken, so we wanted to play on the brand’s famous inventiveness, wit and pioneering spirit to create something that stands out for potential visitors,’ says Heineken Experience manager Dirk Lubbers. No amount of words and pictures really do the ‘Heineken Bottle with a Mission’ campaign as much justice as the video, which is on YouTube.

In South Africa, KFC harnessed technology in a completely different way, for an equally ‘hyper-real’ experience that increased participation through publishing the music and artworks of local creatives in their core urban youth market. The KFC SoundBite table, an interactive table incorporating conductive ink and bone technologies, let customers enjoy local music by simply placing their elbows on the audio tables and cupping their hands over their ears. By placing their smartphones on the tables, they could also find out more about the artists. The conductive ink illustrations on the tables were also created by local artists. The initiative not only positioned KFC as a focal point for the cool urban youth market, but enabled the work of many unheard and unseen local artists to receive local, national and even international attention.  

While some of these initiatives may seem ‘out there’ and even ‘gimmicky’, each was underpinned by solid research and consumer insight, and generated many millions of dollars in PR value. Most importantly, each campaign encouraged active participation with the brand – and participation is the new ROI.

Lee McClymont is GM of POPAI for Australia and New Zealand. This article appeared in the July edition of Inside FMCG magazine. Subscribe now

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