TOKYO: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, is tapping in to the creative expertise of a wide range of partners as it seeks to connect with consumers in Asia.

In one example of this trend, the beverage maker has established a Creative Excellence team in Japan, which coordinates the activities of its agencies and the other firms behind its campaigns.

This unit sets initial briefs, ensures all of the output produced has a common theme, tone and style, and then leads the process of "exploding" this material out through a variety of media channels.

"Our role is to find big ideas, then say how and who do we need to work with to make this as big as it can be?" David Elsworth, vice president of Creative Excellence Japan, said.

Such a strategy was employed as part of the company's recent Crush Eco platform, which supported the roll-out of the new eco-friendly bottle used by its I LOHAS water brand in Japan.

This initiative combined the efforts of a number of different agencies and well-known individuals in order to generate striking communications that could cut through the clutter.

"We brought together Hakuhodo for the advertising, Canadia for the VIS design, combined with our in-house design director Hide Matsunaga," said Elsworth.

“We worked with Kimiko Woo to develop the art project created by Mark Jenkins, and an art film created for the Tokyo film festival was shot by an independent film maker working with Hakuhodo. For the music we collaborated with Sambo Master."

Such a model has also been utilised in China, where Coca-Cola contracted two Brazilian experts to create the "Coca-Cola Giant Bottle" as part of its sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

This 15-metre-high replica of its trademark contour bottle was covered in over 300,000 LED TVs, and captured live footage of the crowd, as well as sending text messages to consumers and showing video.

"Technology is really helping, as you can see who is out there. A market especially like China has a lot more creativity coming to the fore," said Damian Coren, coo for Leo Burnett Shanghai.

Coren, who worked on the project to construct Coke's "high-touch experiential" bottle, argued this kind of collaborative approach had attracted the attention of several major marketers.

"It's generally the leadership clients who are trying this process out - Nike, Coca-Cola and Adidas," added Coren.

Data sourced from Media Asia; additional content by Warc staff