Coke: Still unclear on the concept

by Mathew on November 8, 2006 · 10 comments

After the amazing Diet Coke-Mentos video from the guys at exploded onto the scene thanks to YouTube (and later Revver), there was a sharp divide between the reaction from Mentos and Coca-Cola. The Italian company that makes Mentos saw it as free advertising and immediately wanted to do something with the Eepybird team — saying they probably got $10-million worth of free viral advertising from the clip. Coke effectively looked down its nose and sniffed.

diet coke

A little while ago I wrote that Coke appeared to have finally grabbed a clue, because they were involved in an online contest with the Eepybird guys (also on Revver, as someone from the video site points out in my comments). As it turns out, though, it sounds more like they were dragged kicking and screaming (or whining) into clue-land, according to this story at MediaPost.

John Stichweh, director of global interactive marketing, cast doubt on whether the company thinks engagement is a goal worth pursuing. The measurement that really matters, he said, is sales. “How many more cases of Coke am I selling? I don’t know,” he said at the Ad:Tech conference in New York.

According to the story, the Coke exec also questioned whether doing interactive or “user-generated” advertising was any cheaper than a multimillion-dollar ad campaign in traditional media, saying that online campaigns are cheaper up front but “there is a cost element in terms of internal labor.”

I guess he’s got a point — if by “internal labor” you mean paying someone to run around at headquarters pulling people’s heads out of the sand and showing them how to click on the “most popular” link at YouTube.

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