What’s the deal with space?

Under Armour. Samsung. And now Adidas. It’s the latest brand to jump on the intergalactic space wagon. The brand recently signed a multi-year partnership with the International Space Station US National Laboratory. Adidas says the focus of the partnership will be to focus on innovation and product testing in microgravity.

Earlier this year, Adidas delivered soccer balls to the ISS during a cargo mission. The balls were then tested, seeing how they reacted with gravity or air resistance distorting the shape. While those tests are still being processed, the brand said it could lead to alterations into the design of the ball such as what materials or textures are used. But is this truly research for product improvement or just another stunt? Probably, a bit of both.

The commercialization of space over the years. 

It started in 1962. Omega’s Speedmaster watch was worn by US astronaut Walter Schirra during the country’s fifth manned space mission, Mercury-Atlas 8. Aboard the Sigma 7, Schirra orbited the Earth seven times.

Coca-Cola was next in 1985 when they started designing a “space can” for astronauts to drink during missions. Pepsi got wind of the experiment and developed its own. The marketing battle became ugly, with US Senators began lobbying for one brand or the other.

Then there was Kit-Kat (2012), Red Bull (2012), Hyundai (2015), and a slew of others as of late. There’s even a new media brand, Supercluster that was built specifically to get people excited about space again.

And while technically, NASA and it’s astronauts aren’t allowed to accept endorsements while working at the space agency that may soon change. NASA is currently working with two major aerospace companies, SpaceX and Boeing, to send astronauts to and from the International Space Station. And the logos of these companies will be emblazoned on the vehicles and rockets that launch crews into space, which was taboo in the early days of NASA.

On top of that, NASA’s new committee chair is focused on figuring out how NASA can explore commercial opportunities. “Capitalism works really well here on Earth. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be embracing it in [space].”

Why it’s hot:
“Space” just might be a mandatory in the next brief while product placement in space could be the next frontier. Brand logos on the sides of rockets? Astronauts as influencers? We’ll have to wait and see.

share a coke with who?

Coke’s once again using its product not only as a marketing tool, but a way to bring people together. In South Africa, where there are 11 different residual languages post-Apartheid, Coke created the “phonetic can”. Now, sharing one doesn’t just mean potentially connecting with someone new, but someone new with a name perhaps derived from another cultural enclave. As they put it, “getting a person’s name right is the first step towards getting along together.”

As part of the campaign, they created gifs for social that would help people learn different sounds required for correct pronunciation, renamed local radio stations to peoples’ hard-to-pronounce monikers, and created OOH billboards featuring names that were likely culturally unfamiliar to the residents of the neighborhoods where they ran. Beyond advertising, South African soap operas “worked the idea into plot lines”, and teachers even used the phonetic cans “as lesson tools in classrooms.”

Why it’s hot:

The ultimate marketing combination is connection and utility. Not only is this a great extension of its global marketing efforts, it’s one that has an intensely human side and altruistic goal. It’s not superficial purpose marketing, or a meaningless stunty gesture. Whether or not you actually share a Coke with someone whose name you couldn’t pronounce without help, you would still learn how to pronounce those names and at the very least be that much more culturally savvy as a result.


coke’s “search of a lifetime”…

Being young is about searching – for who you are, what you want to do with your life, even simply what to do tomorrow. Hooking into this, Coca-Cola in Israel created “The Search of a Lifetime”. Using the top searches among young Israelis, they created targeted content to answer the life-defining questions they were asking around work, school, travel, etc. What’s more, they predicted and created content addressing what would likely be peoples’ next questions after answering the initial query. Ultimately, helping them find the answers, to make the decisions that would make them happy.

First, not enough brands use search to create meaningful connections with people. It’s a direct way to help them by answering the questions you know they’re asking. Second, more brands should be thinking beyond the initial interaction. Coke could have just answered the first question and moved on. Instead, they endeavored to understand how a young person would fully explore these topics, and made sure they completed the conversation.


I’d Like to Buy the World Diabetes

Many consider the Coca Cola “Hilltop” ad to be one of the most famous ads in the history of advertising, so famous in fact that it was used in a very well-known show’s finale (no spoilers). Here is the original . The photo below is a clip from the same ad.

Coca Cola Hilltop Ad screengrab

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit education and advocacy organization CSPITV (What is CSPI) released a dark parody of the ad called “Change the Tune”. Specifically, the same jingle was used as a backdrop for a PSA about the unhealthy consequences of soda drinking such as tooth decay and diabetes.

Here’s the parody.

Why it’s Hot

The idea of ‘changing the tune” seems to be a relevant theme for a growing number of consumer product categories, reflecting a new consumer-based trend towards health conscious eating and lifestyle choices. This ad represents a small, but direct attack on one of the most iconic brands that, for many, don’t fit this contemporary lifestyle (Coca Cola). Perhaps brands will have to increasingly factor in this increasing vocal minority when considering the message they want to send to consumers whom are increasingly concerned about their lifestyle choices.

You can read more about this topic here.


‘Choose to Smile’ for Coca-Cola

Earlier this month, Ogilvy & Mather Amsterdam launched its first spot for Coca-Cola with an over-the-top anthem ad. The agency took a much simpler approach with the shorter “Choose to Smile.”

The ad shares the insight that “Before you learn anything you learn to smile” (via a somewhat annoying tune, unfortunately), followed by the text, “It’s said smile 40x more than adults.” Encompassing footage of babies and toddlers laughing and smiling, the ad asks “Did we forget the first thing we learnt?” and encourages viewers to “choose life with a smile.” Since baby videos (along with cats, dogs and goats) are one of the those subjects all but guaranteed to be shared on the Internet, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the video has gone viral, racking up over six million YouTube views in about ten days. Beyond that, though, the spot is a lot more successful at capturing the spirit of the “Choose Happiness” tagline and brand message than its predecessor, and a lot more watchable.

Why it’s Hot

This ad not only transcends generations and segments, but appeals to the masses as babies are one topic of conversation that everyone finds irresistibly cute and shareable. And, not only that, but it’s not short, to-the-point, and not heavily branded, which increases shareability.

See the world through a dog’s eyes in Coca Cola’s new spot

This charming animated spot for Coke depicts a dog’s, and his long-suffering owner’s, contrasting views of a walk in the park. It’s raining, but the dog wants a walk, and with that comes sniffing stinky garbage, and chasing pigeons and squirrels (who are all colorfully lit up with brightly colored smoke in the dog’s world, where everything is exciting and worth exploring). Things only start to go better for the owner when the dog pulls him slap bang into a Coke vending machine.


Watch video here

 Why It’s Hot

Here aren’t a lot of animated ads out there nowadays and I think this ad does a great job in creating the feeling that I’m sure the brand was trying to convey in this ad – that opening a bottle of Coke doesn’t just quench your thirst but can actually bring you happiness and put a smile on your face.

Now Your Coke Is As Unique As You Are

Coca Cola’s Share A Coke campaign showed that the soda brand seemed to really understand its drinkers – especially people with popular first names or those with the creativity to make something out of Coke cans. Now Coca-Cola Israel has expanded on this by creating a campaign with 2 million one-of-a-kind bottle designs.

Watch the video below for more information.

Via AdWeek.

Why It’s Hot: We’ve previously discussed the power of product packaging for a variety of brands. Coca-Cola, like many others, uses its packaging to engage consumers; the “Share A Coke” campaign felt personal, even though as AdWeek points out, it wasn’t personal at all. (If you’re able to find your name printed on a label, chances are that it probably isn’t too unique. Sorry to burst your carbon dioxide bubble.) The Diet Coke campaign, on the other hand, doesn’t leave anyone out and its designs alone are works of art.

I’m a fan of anything that doesn’t require finding “Lili” on a keychain – or in this case, a bottle label. Even as someone who can never find anything with my name on it, I think that a nice-looking keepsake bottle is a lot cooler than seeing my name on a label.

Product Packaging & Social Media: A Match Made in Heaven?

Many brands are integrating their product packaging with social media campaigns, in an effort to increase buzz and engagement. As a sort of “replacement” for guerrilla marketing, this new integration creates a powerful connection through “excellent product packaging design, especially when that design incorporates an interactive social aspect that taps into a larger social media strategy to create campaigns that are tangible and interactive at every level,” as SmartBrief explains.

Coke_Klontz Klontz_Pepsi

Some examples of this new trend include:

  • Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign, which replaces the company logo on it’s super iconic bottles with any one of the 250 most popular first names in the country. It instantly creates a personal connection for customers, who are then motivated to post on social media/share photos of their personalized drink. People can also visit a microsite to check inventory of local stores for drinks with their names on the label, and enter to win prizes using the #ShareACoke hashtag.
  • Dole’s #PeelTheLove campaign on their bananas uses the tiny sticker on a batch of bananas to give a witty one-word suggestion for using or consuming the banana, and a simple QR code provides access to a wealth of recipe ideas online so that customers will always know what to do with their bunches. Despite the use of the ever-disappointing QR code, Dole has come up with a creative way to entice people to interact with the banana provider.
  • Pepsi’s augmented-reality SuperBowl sponsorship uses the app Blippar (QR code 2.0?) to enable customers to visit a microsite to enter sweepstakes to win tickets, and edit themselves into a picture with NFL players to share on social media – all by “blipping” their can. To ensure customers would know how to engage with it, Pepsi made their entire can into an instruction manual, taking users through each step.

Read more detail on SmartBrief’s Smart Blog.

Why It’s Hot | It’s interesting to see how brands are finding new ways to increase engagement, aside from just creating advertising campaigns and social media. What better way to further push consumers to engage with brands and share their interaction with brands than to push them to do it directly on the packaging? Packaging will forever be an ultimate salesman, and aside from helping convince consumers to buy a product, now it’s helping encourage consumers to extend their relationships with brands.

Coke to Fly Their Selfie-Flag at World Cup

No stranger to big statements, Coke has come up with a way to use user-generated content to advertise on one of the world’s largest stages. As Adweek explains, “Coke will unveil its largest World Cup digital activation with a 3,015-square-meter nylon flag comprised of 219,000 photos collected via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from 207 countries.” The design of the flag itself is also user-generated – a recreation from Brazilian street artist Speto’s painting.

Though the selfies are driving the buzz around the flag, Coke says the flag itself is the center of it all. “The physical flag represents a moment in history that would be very hard to capture digitally,” explained Neil Bedwell, global digital director, Coca-Cola. Post World Cup, the flag will be on display at the soda giant’s hospitality venues, and a link to a microsite showcasing the “Happiness Flag,” as it’s known, will be emailed to each participant as a digital memento.

Why It’s Hot | Expensive creative for advertising is increasingly being replaced with free (or super cheap) user-generated content. And it’s not hard to figure out why. Crowd-sourcing for user-generated content not only helps brands’ budgets – it enhances buzz about the brand, and extends reach beyond the typical advertising campaign. In addition, it helps to build brand trust. Users feel special being featured by a brand, and empowered as a part of something bigger than themselves, knowing their contribution will be viewed by millions of people. The benefits of brands using user-generated content impact the brand and the users, driving a winning strategy (most of the time).

Coca-Cola 2nd Lives

Coca-Cola invents 16 crazy caps to turn empty bottles into useful objects. Thanks to this new “2nd Lives” kit from the brand, you can now transform your Coke into something even more delightful.

Created with the help of Ogilvy & Mather China, the campaign features a line of 16 innovative caps that can be screwed on to bottles when they’re empty, transforming them into useful objects like water guns, whistles, paint brushes, bubble makers and pencil sharpeners.

Why it’s hot: a clever way to encourage recycling!

AHH! CocaCola turns its big advertising splash over to the young ones

Coca-Cola breaks new ground with a TV commercial this week titled “This is AHH” comprised almost entirely of short video clips made by their young fans. A few months ago Coke asked teens to submit short video clips sharing what it feels like when they take a sip of Coke. The best clips would be featured in a national Coca-Cola TV ad. As Coke put it, “AHH is that indescribable feeling you get from a sip of Coke. We asked our fans to show us their best interpretation of AHH for a chance to be in a national commercial, and it turns out “AHH” feels a little something like this. We had no idea. “

Why It’s Hot

Coke received 400 entries and chose 40 for the final cut. The clips in the ad came from all over the world — from Brazil to Salt Lake City to Jacksonville, FL. This ad debuted on Wednesday’s season finale of American Idol and will run on teen-friendly networks including the CW, MTV and Adult Swim. The spot is part of Coke’s teen campaign called “The AHH Effect,” now in its second year.

Coke’s reliance on user-generated content for a television campaign targeted at teens seems to signal a lot about this younger generation and what brands will have to do to engage it in the future. Interactivity is extremely important for younger audiences. They are a group that aren’t satisfied with just being told a story, but want to help tell the story, affect the brand, and, in this case, literally see themselves in that brand’s story.

Most kids in middle school or high school have grown up with YouTube and Facebook. They spend most of their time on mobile apps, like Snapchat. They are used to interacting with their media, controlling it, and, in some cases, creating it.

The future of advertising — where these teens are the most coveted market — will be about engagement. Brands will have to start thinking, like Coca-Cola, who has always been open to letting consumers interact with its brand. Companies will need to engage their consumers, not only emotionally, but through action and interaction.


Open a Coke, Open a Friendship

Coca Cola has always been about the connection and happiness behind the simple act of enjoying a can of Coke. This new ad campaign (kicking off first in Latin America) furthers the idea of sharing that has become almost iconic for the brand. The idea is simple – devise a method to get freshmen at colleges to become friends through the new “Friendly Twist” design, a bottle with a new type of cap that can only be opened with another bottle of Coke. Check out more in the spot:


Why it’s hot:

One step beyond enabling connection, Coca Cola is now almost forcing conversations around a brand. The experience creates a memory that lasts beyond the bottle. Plus, why sell only one Coke when you can sell 2?

Coke Promotes Freestyle Fountain Machine With Clever Vine Shorts

Coca-Cola tapped Vine celebrity Zach King to help promote its new Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain machine, which can create more than 100 drink combinations, in a series of fun and clever six second videos. King, known as the “Vine Magician” for his use of special FX in the medium, helped create the Vines with the aim of capturing the fun, choice and possibility of Coca-Cola Freestyle.

Why It’s Hot

Leveraging Key Opinion Leaders is a strategy marketers talk about often. Strategically speaking, Vine is the perfect medium for reaching the target audience of the new Coca-Cola Freestyle machines and Zach’s combination of  technology and magic tend to go viral with great frequency. The first two posts have already generated more than 53,800 Likes and 30,000 Re-Vines. The series rolled out a new video each Monday throughout the month of February.