Ted Ryan, the guy in red in the photo above, has a job that many would dream of.
Also known as the Director of Heritage Communications a.k.a. Archivist of Coca-Cola, Ted’s work brings him into contact with Coke’s significant collection worth US$15 million of artefacts, artworks and antiques. Part preserver, presenter and promoter (he is also a blogger for Coke), Ted’s 15 year experience in Coke makes him a walking encyclopedia of this ubiquitous and beloved beverage brand.
Thanks to June, Tiffany and Laura of the Coca-Cola Singapore team, I was invited to the cosy 126th birthday party for Coca-Cola held at the Dallas Restaurant and Bar at Boat Quay. As a marketer and a publicist, I’ve always admired how the world’s largest beverage company continually reinvented its flagship Coca-Cola brand despite having such a long heritage. It was fascinating to see how the brand associates itself with values such as fun, happiness and enjoyment through activities that resonate with its customers.
At the thematic party adorned with Coca-Cola’s unmistakeable reds and whites, I learned how the company continually innovated its marketing and PR efforts. Other than traditional advertising on mainstream channels, Coke experimented successfully with guerrilla marketing, emotional marketing, buzz and viral marketing, co-branding, sponsorship (Coke has sponsored the Olympics movement for 84 years in total!) as well as immersive experience rich events and showcases (such as the party itself). The company further embraced its role as a corporate citizen by sponsoring and encouraging sustainable and civic-minded practices such as recycling and caring for the less fortunate.
Courtesy of Coca-Cola Singapore
With Earth Hour around the corner, it is timely for both individuals and companies to consider how they can reduce their environmental impact on our beautiful planet.
Coca-Cola Singapore is certainly taking a proactive role in this area. As part of their effort to instil the habit of recycling in Singapore, they are launching the Recycle Happiness Machine (yes that’s its actual name!) which will be popping up at five different locations around the Orchard Road/Dhoby Ghaut area. The machine provides a fun way for members of the public to deposit their used plastic beverage bottles in exchange for a little gift.
That was my first reaction when invited by June Kong-Dhanabalan from Coca-Cola to hop on board their Happiness Mobile (Coke is the official worldwide sponsor of the games). Offering a bird’s eye view of the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame (or JYOF), I will feel what it’s like to be a teenager hollering my lungs out, waving my hands in the air, and cheering on an open-top “Hippo” bus. Of course, I was heartened to know that the blogfather mrbrown has already experienced this.
Held in conjunction with the upcoming Singapore Youth Olympic Games (YOG), the Singapore leg of the torch relay sees some 2,400 torchbearers (including June herself) conveying the Youth Olympic Flame through all the five community districts and ending in the heart of the city. Participants hail from the 500 odd participating schools, sponsoring organisations, as well as government agencies.
My visit to the Coca-Cola Pavillion at the Shanghai World Expo was certainly one of the highlights of my trip. As a geek who firmly believes in the virtues of experiential marketing, branded entertainment and transmedia storytelling, I was almost brought to tears (fanboy style) by Coke’s immaculate attention to details here.
Every single consumer touchpoint in its pavillion, fashioned after its world-famous “Happiness Factory” transmedia campaign, was a 360 degree brand encounter. The entire holistic and immersive experience was orchestrated to stimulate the senses, from sight, sound, scent, taste to touch. For Coca-Cola fans, it was also highly emotional and community bonding.
Let me bring you through the journey.