Coke gets Olympic boost in China

29 August 2012

BEIJING: Coca-Cola's sponsorship of the London Olympic Games has generated a 61% spontaneous awareness level among Chinese consumers, bettering the brand's gains from Beijing 2008.

Marketing consultancy R3 conducted a survey of 1,500 consumers in ten cities in China, and found that Coke led all brands on this metric during the event. The awareness achieved also beats the 46% awareness garnered by the soft drinks company during the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The company's "Beat of China" campaign for London 2012 focused on stars such as swimmer Sun Yang, who took the nation's first-ever swimming gold medal in the 400m freestyle.

Andres Kiger, senior director of integrated marketing operations of Coca-Cola in China, commented: "We're fortunate to have more than eight decades of Olympic experience to leverage."

Linking potential stars to Coke was a successful strategy, noted Kiger. Not only did consumers report strong awareness, but 58% claimed the brand's marketing increased their purchase intent.

"Coke's hefty investments in digital marketing have struck a chord with Chinese consumers, and it plays out in awareness," said Bella Teng, senior researcher at R3.

In addition to digital marketing, Coke utilised athlete endorsements and Olympic-inspired product line extensions, creating a tangible link between the brand and the Games.

It is not clear to what extent Coca-Cola benefited from the enhanced awareness of the Olympics itself, following China's stint as a host nation four years ago.

Overall, multinational sponsors dominated consumer recall, with adidas, McDonald's, BMW and Samsung rounding out the top five brands for consumer awareness.

Data sourced from R3; additional content by Warc staff