- Coca-Cola has rolled out a new corporate branding campaign that promotes itself as a “total beverage company” that extends beyond the namesake soda, and highlights its decades-long refranchisement strategy and its 68 independent U.S. bottlers, as reported by Ad Age.
- The effort kicked off this past weekend with a spot running during NBC’s NFL Sunday Night Football game that featured the independent bottlers and how they are part of a broader Coke family and also have ties to the local communities in which they operate. Another spot will include a variety of Coca-Cola’s non-soda brands such as Honest Tea, Odwalla juice and Smartwater.
- A key aspect of Coca-Cola’s refranchisement strategy was selling off manufacturing and distribution operations which required heavy capital outlays so that the company could increase its focus on marketing and innovation.
The message delivered in Coca-Cola's new corporate campaign appears designed to help the company better position itself to address some of the ways the marketplace for consumer packaged goods brands is evolving.
Coca-Cola, like many consumer packaged food brands, is facing a major challenge as consumers' tastes change. Many are switching to less-sugary drinks, displaying a preference for local and/or healthy brands and losing trust in legacy grocery store brands along the way. For Coca-Cola, these trends have translated to a drop in sales for its soda brands while sales have grown for its bottled water products such as Vitamin Water.
More broadly, the refranchisement strategy reflected in the campaign is meant to boost Coca-Cola's marketing efforts, which recently has included a big push behind Vitamin Water with a new TV campaign featuring actor Aaron Paul as well as interactive vending machines. Coca-Cola is one of many big brands struggling to find a way in the digital transition, which is reflected in some changes to the company's marketing leadership this year.
In March, Coke’s Global CMO Marcus de Quinto left the company amid a restructuring that eliminated the role in favor of consolidating marketing, customer and commercial leadership strategy into one combined function that reports to new CEO James Quincey. The closest title to CMO at Coke is Chief Growth Officer, which is held by Francisco Crespo. As part of the restructuring Coke also added a new C-suite title – Chief Innovation Officer. In May, its SVP of strategic marketing and head of media operations in North America Ivan Pollard left the company.
On the innovation front, Coke ended its Founders’ Program startup accelerator early this year, but in June news came out that it still running The Bridge, a program similar in scope and practice to a startup accelerator or incubator program, but what Coke described as a “commercialization program.” The end result for Coke is the same — the program gives it access to emerging technology and the talent creating and developing that tech.