Co-creation was the third trend we explored in the July issue of Inside FMCG, and so back to Coca-Cola to see how it uses technology to co-create the brand experience with the shopper in its global ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign.
With ‘GIF the Feeling’, consumers can customise and share animated GIFs inspired by feelings associated with drinking Coca-Cola while watching a two-minute interactive music video.
‘As fans watch the video, they will see 32 icons corresponding to emotions – from refreshed and energised, to cool and excited,’ says Coca-Cola. ‘At any point, the viewer can click into the clip, pull out a GIF and personalise it with text to express how they feel. They can then share their customised GIF on social media with the #TasteTheFeeling hashtag.’
‘It’s quite a technological feat to stitch together a series of GIFs featuring beautiful cinematography with a single music track into an interactive experience consumers can personalise and share,’ says the brand’s group director of digital platforms Kim Gnatt. ‘No brand has ever done something this powerful with GIFs, so we can’t wait to see how fans respond.’
So far, campaign engagement has been incredibly high – for better and for worse. Sales uplifts have been strong, as has positive participation from consumers. However, early on a series of stories told how the campaign was being hijacked by ‘teenage trolls’. Millennial bloggers were running cynical commentary along the lines of ‘large, capitalist organisations shouldn’t use the words “GIF” or “Tumblr” in their boardrooms.’
Innovations like co-created and shared content always run the risk of being hijacked, but that’s not a good enough reason to stick our heads in the sand and pretend we live in a Mad Men world of one-way brand propaganda. That world is long gone. Every campaign will have its detractors, and the key is to keep innovating, while staying true to what the brand stands for. Coca-Cola has done this.
How else are brands and retailers embracing technology to co-create experiences with shoppers?
With your permission, Top Shop will use your Pinterest posts to create a customised ‘style palette’ for you, with a series of recommendations based on colour and style preferences from your Pinterest posts. Fast-fashion brand Forever 21 made a massive mechanical screen with 6400 spools of thread displaying Instagram images hashtagged with #F21ThreadScrean.
And in Sydney, at its flagship Wellbeing Centre experience store in Bondi, Blackmores use a technology called Mindful Ocean to read brainwave activity, with a Wellbeing Check app to help customers plan their wellbeing journey.
In Los Angeles recently, I visited a Murad skincare store. Its in-store experience involves a 20-minute facial scan, using patented technology to read and map areas for skin improvement, and diagnose a personalised repair and rejuvenation plan. My results can be seen in the photos: apparently I have a bad case of being over 35. Despite being diametrically opposed to the entire philosophy, I felt obliged to buy a pack of false promises, on account of the weirdly well-preserved woman who spent half an hour analysing my face.
Ultimately, co-creating experiences with shoppers is now the modus operandi of successful brands and retailers, with technology an enabler rather than an end in itself.
Lee McClymont is GM of POPAI for Australia and New Zealand. This article appeared in the July edition of Inside FMCG magazine. Subscribe now.