The 100th birthday of Coca-Cola’s bottle isn’t just a celebration – this year, the icon has a lot of work to do.
Coca-Cola is making its famous bottle the cornerstone of a global campaign that’s aimed at continuing a global growth trend for brand Coke. Katie Bayne, senior vice president, global sparkling brands for Coca-Cola, touted the company’s ambitious plans during a presentation at the annual Beverage Forum conference Wednesday in Chicago.
“This year, this beautiful bottle turns 100 years young,” she said.
The bottle – which was patented in 1915 – stands as one of the most famous packages ever invented. But Coca-Cola’s anniversary celebration is aimed at being far more than an exercise in nostalgia. Bayne said the company intends to use the bottle to increase trial of brand Coke, to drive sales and to build deeper connections with consumers. The plan has four major elements.
The famous contour shape of the original bottle is still inspiring new designs. In 2005, Coca-Cola introduced an aluminum version. This year, Coca-Cola is rolling out a plastic “On The Go Bottle” in multiple countries in Europe and elsewhere, Bayne said, that plays off the curves of the original. This year, the company will also nearly triple the availability of aluminum and small glass bottles.
There is new-news in glassware, including a fluted glass and a tumbler that looks like it has a Coke bottle inside.
Coca-Cola’s bottle-centric campaign ranges from TV to out-of-home, Bayne said. “This first phase of our creative focuses on elevating the product and package by highlighting the reasons why people love the brand so much,” she said. “It is all about refreshing and ice cold.”
Other ads include icons like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, using vintage photos that captured the stars drinking Coke. “Local markets will have the ability to feature locally relevant celebrities,” Bayne said. For example, in Great Britain, the campaign highlights two famous, contemporary figures in pop music, Rita Ora and Avicii.
Then there are TV ads – 14 in total. “We have been working around the globe to be more efficient. Four agencies worked alongside each other to create a wide pool of work to focus on both the intrinsic and extrinsic values of Coca-Cola and its timeless bottle,” Bayne said.
The company also created new music to celebrate the bottle. Francesco Yates, an up-and-coming performer, recorded a song called “Nobody Like You.” “His song celebrates our bottle’s curves, the unique taste, love, happiness and specialness,” Bayne said.
New In-Store Tools
In the beverage business, point-of-sale is where the action is. Coca-Cola has designed in-store displays that will be customized in each market, while ensuring that every display around the world is consistent.
“We worked with shopper marketing partners around the world to shoot over 100 pieces at once to suit the needs of all the markets and drive sales on displays and at the shelf,” Bayne said.
New Experiential Marketing
Finally, Coca-Cola teams will be busy all year bringing Coke samples to consumers. Bayne said the company plans to hand out more than 30 million free bottles, all to support the goal of increasing trial. “We’ll be at the beach, concerts and parks,” Bayne said.
Taking a cue from Coca-Cola’s expertise in the Olympic Torch Relay, the bottle campaign will go on the road through the Art Bottle Tour. The event will stop in markets around the world, bringing artwork inspired by the bottle. The event includes new work, plus items featuring the Coke bottle created by Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell and Clive Barker.
“In addition to the art, there will be historical artifacts and interactive experiences that showcase the bottle and its role in art and popular culture,” Bayne said.
All this activity is meant to sell more Coke. “This is all part of our broader strategy,” Bayne said. “We believe it will continue to drive momentum for our flagship brand, boosting trial and transactions, and helping those who love Coca-Cola to love it a little more.”