RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA: Coca-Cola is using storytelling to deeply engage shoppers – an approach which was epitomised following the appearance of its flagship brand in the finale of the Mad Men series on AMC.

Douglas Busk, Coca-Cola's global group director/digital communications and social media, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Digital & Social Media Conference.

He said that Coca-Cola Journey, its official website, helped the Atlanta-based firm reach core stakeholders "in the same way they engage us, which is through storytelling." (For more, including further details of Coke's content strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Coke's behind-the-scenes Journey with Mad Men.)

And the fact Mad Men's final episode closed with Coke's iconic Hilltop ad handed Coca-Cola its greatest chance to leverage fans' interest in the long-running series, in which its brands had regularly featured.

"We simply wanted to provide the real story behind the show, and the characters as depicted, including 'Hilltop' … if only to ensure that the facts were top of the fold," said Busk.

As soon as the last instalment of Don Draper's story finished on the West Coast, the organisation thus had a selection of material ready on Coca-Cola Journey, its official website.

More specifically, the firm refreshed an article about the making of the "Hilltop" spot which it had originally uploaded a few years earlier, alongside introducing a companion piece on the "Unbottled" blog.

"We were aware that 'Hilltop' was going to be featured. We didn't know how. We simply delivered a copy of the ad to the producers," said Busk.

By providing an authoritative – and engaging – take on the subject, however, Coca-Cola was able to connect with Mad Men fans while also making a significant impression in the media.

"The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and dozens of others publications not only mentioned Journey, but they didn't refer to some anonymous [Coca-Cola] person," said Busk.

"They all linked directly to our Journey pieces as official points of record. So it wasn't pushed through the filter of: 'This is what some company shill is telling you.'"

Data sourced from Warc