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Coca-Cola gets total-marketing balance

News, 25 January 2016

MIAMI, FL: The controversy between the concepts of "total marketing" and "multicultural" marketing continues to engage American marketers, but Coca-Cola is finding its own niche between the two approaches.

"Total marketing" essentially grounds general-market campaigns in various demographic and ethnic insights; by contrast, the multicultural approach favours reaching out to different pockets – African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans – with campaigns targeted against those audience interests.

With more than 3,500 different products distributed in 200-plus countries, The Coca-Cola Co. is finding that its broader base means more generic appeals, as witnessed by its flagship brand's switch last week to a Taste the Feeling global campaign.

But, as Lauventria Robinson, Coca-Cola North America VP/Multicultural Marketing, told the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) recent Multicultural and Diversity Conference, "There are unique cultural differences within and across segments that you just can't reach with a traditional, one-size-fits-all approach." (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: Coca-Cola blends total-market and targeted programs.)

So, for each of its products, the Atlanta-based company is embracing the "total market" approach, but on a brand-by-brand/market-by-market basis.

For Coca-Cola, for instance, a new effort strongly reflects the family values honoured by the Hispanic-American community, while Minute Maid is giving a shout-out to dads who feel underappreciated, with a particular emphasis on African-Americans. (For more, including how engaging a specific group can appeal to a far greater audience, read Warc's report: Coca-Cola Co. finds 'passion points' for storytelling.)

Hispanic-American soccer fans who currently live in North America but root for their native country teams can take comfort in a Coke campaign that features jersey exchanges between rival teams.

According to Kimberly Paige, VP/Sparkling Brands, this is a recognition that "soccer is not only just a spectator sport; it truly becomes a part of your identity." And, much like an extended family, "it's something that you actually take pride in".

Elsewhere, a Sprite programme – anchored on insights from young African-Americans – ties into the hip-hop community in a programme that has ethnocentric roots but total-market distribution.

Sprite has a relatively limited spend, and Paige noted that "content can be very expensive".

"[When] resources aren't always at your disposal—you have to be incredibly savvy and entrepreneurial," she said.

Data sourced from Warc