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Coke tries out beacon marketing

News, 17 August 2015
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OSLO: A recent proximity marketing experiment using beacon technology has delivered encouraging results for drinks giant Coca-Cola, which may now seek to extend the test to other areas.

In a pilot scheme conducted in May and June this year, Coca-Cola linked up with Norwegian publisher VG, proximity network Unacast and cinema chain CAPA to make offers to cinema-goers who had a VG app on their smartphone, The Drum reported.

Beacons were installed in the foyers of CAPA cinemas and users who had the VG app installed received an offer of a free Coke while in the cinema as well as being presented with new offers, such as ads for discounted tickets, at later dates.

The test revealed that a quarter (24%) of those with VG's app installed clicked on the initial offer, with half of them going on to collect their free drink at the cinema, while 60% of the cinema-goers later clicked on the retargeted ad served to them up to a week later.

The simple promotion meant Coca-Cola was able to build a clearer picture of customer profiles for its campaign while also delivering something of value for its customers.

As explained by Knut Anders Thorset, senior manager of digital sales and marketing at Coca-Cola Enterprises Norway, the trial showed that beacons could enable brands like Coke to use existing media channels in new ways.

"The hyper-relevance beacons provide ensures that we can amplify our role and deliver something of real value to both retailers and consumers," he said.

"Unacast has harnessed the power of proximity marketing, making it a genuinely viable, scalable channel. We look forward to the results from the further roll out," he added.

That wider roll out will cover 110 cinemas in Scandinavia later this year and similar experiments could be conducted in other regions.

Coca-Cola is far from alone in looking into the possibilities of beacon-based proximity marketing as tech giants, such as Facebook and Google, are pushing hard to offer location-based content, services and targeted ads.

Free Facebook beacons are now being offered to businesses while Google recently announced the release of new software that enables Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology to communicate with Android or iOS devices.

Data sourced from The Drum, Google; additional content by Warc staff

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