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How we helped Coca-Cola recapture their teen audience

This case presents CokeTV – a YouTube channel resting on the core values of the Coca-Cola brand and with the purpose of re-engaging teens. CokeTV has been a success among teens from the get-go and has outperformed all KPIs. Now, in its 3rd season, the channel is still going strong.

Coca-Cola was facing a difficult challenge as the sales of soft drinks were declining. The market for soft drinks is larger than ever, and although Coca-Cola is a well-known brand, it has long been a challenge to reach their teen audience. New brands continually emerge onto the battlefield, all vying for teen-attention. Also, the energy drink category has resonated well within teen culture with a strong focus on individuality and empowerment. Teens love feeling unique and trying out new things to create their own identity – thus creating new drinking habits. But even though Coca-Cola has a strong psychical presence – wherever teens go – it’s not their preferred brand.

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    In the beginning of 2017, Ogilvy helped Coca-Cola do something different in their marketing effort to recapture teens. We created an always-on track with the strategic purpose of generating a higher level of mental brand presence among teens. Thus, we created a YouTube channel named CokeTV. YouTube’s strength lies in the platform’s ability to build strong communities where users subscribe to be a part of the content experience shared on the channel. Furthermore, YouTube as a platform supports the format of an always-on track in the sense that it rewards volume and engagement. Lastly, and maybe most importantly– teens are there!

    With the overall strategy aligned, the task was to find a unified concept – a concept that was able to articulate teen-desires or tensions to make them approachable. But it should also be something that truly resonates with Coca-Cola’s profound values – Happiness, Solidarity, Optimism, and Community. For this to come to life, we needed to make Coca-Cola play the role of an influencer.

    Season 1: Living out our dreams brings true happiness
    In April 2017, the first season of CokeTV was launched. The concept “The Bucket List Challenge” was based on the insight that teens love living out their dreams – bringing forth happiness, enjoyment, and optimism, which are among the core values for the Coca-Cola brand. But teens today have endless opportunities – and that in itself poses a challenge. Teens are often good at describing their dreams, but in many cases, dream stays just as they are. Dreams. With the “The Bucket List Challenge”, Coca-Cola wanted to inspire teens to actually live out their dreams, take action, create their own bucket list and feel the enjoyment when their dreams come true. Three Coke TV hosts asked teens for their bucket list ideas and turned them into actual events that were featured on the channel. The teen audience played along happily on the channel giving both evaluations and suggestions in the comment sections. In this way, we not only demonstrated how to realize these dreams, but we also created endless opportunities for the audience to engage with and be inspired by each other’s ideas, leading fun that goes go on and on….

    Season 2: In the pursuit of your passion, you inspire others to follow theirs
    In March 2018, Coke TV’s second season launched. The concept “This one’s for You” was founded on the insight that today’s teens are striving very hard to always be the best. But the hard work required to be the best can sometimes overshadow the joy of the end result. For Coca-Cola, it’s extremely important to be passionate about an idea, a dream, a career, a sport, etc. So Coca-Cola wanted teens to take a different look at their workload and shift their focus from “it’s hard but I do it anyway” to “it’s truly exciting and I want this”. Coca-Cola also wanted to show teens what an inspiration they are when they follow their dreams, and how it helps others by telling and sharing their stories. This time our three CokeTV hosts set out to find inspiring teens who aim high in their passions – be that karate, the violin, qualifying for the Olympics or dancing a mean robot. And our teens were indeed inspired. They also followed Coca-Cola’s Instagram profile where we posted behind the scenes on-set footage as our Coca-Cola hosts visited these talented and passionate guests. The audience also started recommending friends of theirs whose stories they would like us to feature on the channel.

    Season 3: Dare to make a stand and do something different!
    For CokeTV’s third and current season “Spin the Bottle”, the concept is built on the idea that sometimes we should be better at embracing the unpredictable and not always plan every minute of every day. Instead, we should dare to do something different, just because we feel like it. Because it is often in those moments that we feel free and realize that we won’t be judged the way we think. Many teens are concerned about judgment having been brought up in a social media world, where they are constantly exposed to each other’s lives. This causes them to often feel stressed and nervous about their own appearance, choices, and behavior. Coca-Cola wanted to show teens that true quality of life is not about control but can come from anywhere at any time – and often when you least expect it – regardless of what other people post on social. What it really comes down to is presence – living in the moment. We thus introduced the concept “Spin the Bottle” to create a little uncertainty in a light and funny way. With our three CokeTV hosts, we set out to identify certain situations, happenings, and timings that could catch our hosts off guard. e.g. guilty pleasures, strange habits, fears, prejudice, etc. They spin the bottle and it decides the topic for the day.
    So far, our teen audience loves the latest concept for turning an otherwise self-conscious situation or topic on its head and making it fun and safe for them to step out of their comfort zone.

    The results
    So far the results of CokeTV has been striking. We have managed to create an engaging always on track with a 65% view-through rate on weekly 8-minute episodes. With targeted content for teens, we have gained 30,800 subscribers, equivalent to 11% of the total teen population in Denmark. Each episode has an average of 12,214 unique viewers with 3:36 minutes viewed per episode, i.e. 1,898,603 minutes spent with the brand. CokeTV performs as an authentic brand community where teens actively follow and take part in conversations surrounding topics and tensions that matter to them. Thus, CokeTV has effectively contributed to position the Coca-Cola brand and make it relevant for Danish teens. By prioritizing quality content CokeTV has ensured an impressive engagement of 49,160 interactions (base on interactions with the episodes). The channel has qualified for YouTube’s Leaderboard (most watched commercial ads) three times. And teens nominated CokeTV for the biggest teen-award show in the Nordics, “Guldtuben”.

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