- Coca-Cola partnered with agency Ogilvy Colombia and Google on a holiday campaign that leverages data to show how the Christmas spirit is overcoming tensions during divided times, according to news shared with Marketing Dive. Titled "A Year to Share," the effort riffs on Google's long-running "A Year in Review" series that bundles together popular trends from a given year.
- For Coke, Google analyzed thousands of global searches and data points from each month over the past year, passed them through a filter intended to sift out political, religious and non-brand-safe topics and then cross-referenced the results with data sets from The New York Times and Wikipedia. The findings revealed that potentially divisive topics, such as "gay marriage" and "youth protests against climate change," are receding in favor of inquiries like "How to cook for 12 people" or "How to do a Christmas light show" ahead of the holidays.
- Consumers can access a special Google Trends dashboard branded by Coke to dig further into the research and break down the results by month, location or topic. Coca-Cola Latin Center also developed a two-minute video showing search highlights, and the brand will provide e-cards for site visitors to share via mobile and email starting on Dec. 20.
Launching as the U.S. House of Representatives votes on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Coke's holiday campaign is making a clear bid at unifying consumers during highly contentious times.
The soft drink giant, which frequently markets its brands around inclusivity, is attempting to leverage data analysis to prove that the Christmas spirit is growing stronger, or at least that people are less frequently conducting online searches for hot button issues around the holidays. The goal, the creative suggests, is to extend seasonal feelings of togetherness throughout the year rather than keeping them limited to December.
"If we can change in one month, we can change the whole year," the video reads in its closing moments. "Start searching the good in others."
Coke's campaign fits in with others this year that have attempted to promote civility or help consumers find general commonalities to bond over. Chief rival Pepsi is running a push that uses QR codes on packaging to unlock a digital scratch-off game. Any rewards won are intended to be paid forward to friends and family in an act of gift-giving. Nabisco's Oreo cookie brand is also promoting forging connections as part of an #OREOforSanta holiday campaign.
In wading into politics — or trying to steer the conversation away from them — marketers increase the risk of backlash or even boycotts. But there is a growing demand among young consumers like Gen Z and millennials for businesses to take stands on important causes, which Coke could be responding to.
"We wanted to take the algorithm even further, make it warmer and more emotional, especially this year when the world seems more polarized than ever," Juan Pablo Álvarez, creative VP at Ogilvy Colombia, said in a statement. "Times like these calls for brands like Coca-Cola to defend what they stand for and show those lights of hope so as to bring people together and demonstrate that we can always improve as human beings."
Aspects of the Coke campaign could still prove controversial. The brand is leaning heavily into the technological power of Google, which is cited by some as helping to worsen societal divisions through algorithmically-driven platforms like its core search function and YouTube.
The push analyzing global trends comes as Coke realigns its marketing leadership. The company earlier this week announced it is reinstating a global CMO just two years after scrapping the position in favor of a chief growth officer. Company vet Manolo Arroyo will step in to fill the appointment in 2020 as Coke looks to more closely unify marketing and operations and keep pace with rapidly shifting consumer tastes.