While Millennials represent a key advertising target for Coca-Cola, the company brand messaging at Walmart has historically targeted moms. In order to motivate Millennials to shop for Coca-Cola products at Walmart, Collective Bias (CB) and Shopper Events were engaged to create media stories and an in-store event that targeted Millennials, using a fresh approach to motivate this consumer group to #shareitforward and shop for Coca-Cola products at Walmart for themselves, friends, family and co-workers.
Coca-Cola set out to increase revenue over a 4-week period and drive traffic on a traditionally slow day without discounting the product. Specifically, to grow the immediate consumption business (20-ounce single serve bottles) by +8%-10%. To appeal to Millennial shoppers, the team created an event to get people talking about Coca-Cola and Walmart— online and offline. It was also imperative that the results were measurable. To drive traffic to this in-store event, Collective Bias engaged its community of bloggers to talk about personalized Coke bottles and the event.
This Coca-Cola program at Walmart surpassed expectations:
- Walmart's 20-ounce soft drink sales growth was DOUBLE the growth experienced by all other large retailers combined during the 4-week program
- Exceeded projected sales lifts derived from previous international Share-a-Coke executions and sustained substantial growth for several weeks
- Exceeded projected social media impact:
- Blog page views – 3.4MM vs. 2.3MM benchmark (48% greater)
- Syndicated Impressions – 28.9MM vs. 19.7MM benchmark (47% greater)
- 8,484 pieces of content
- 10,603 blog page engagements
- Twitter Party – United States Trending; 7,241 tweets; 14.2MM impressions
The success of the #shareitforward campaign was found through a cohesive, multi-channel program. The social media component drove event awareness and facilitated the ongoing sharing of ideas. The stories created by CB's network of online influencers served to effectively reach Millennial shoppers at Walmart through their native social media channels. The in-store demo event energized shoppers and Walmart associates about Coca-Cola products. The incremental, inspiring points of in-store displays and visuals made it easy for Walmart shoppers to share Cokes. By engaging Millennial consumers through synergistic online and offline communications, the brand was successfully elevated within the marketplace.
The following four-part communications strategy was collectively executed through collaboration with Coca-Cola, Walmart, Collective Bias and Shopper Events:
- Ensure the 20-ounce bottles were readily and easily accessible in all stores
- All checkout coolers were loaded with Cokes with proper names on them
- The tops of coolers carried ambient 20-ounce bottles – perfect for quickly finding names for friends and family.
- Share Bins were shoppable from four sides, typically found along the check-out action alley near both entrances and self-checkout locations, since Millennial shoppers over-index in use of self-checkout (source: APT).
- Additional displays included WOW and lobby displays, and in-aisle reminders via floor graphics.
- All signage was designed with simplicity in mind, and consistent, eye-catching and persuasive messaging.
- Create and drive awareness for a big, bold and exciting kick-off event
- Coca-Cola's owned media asset, radio personality Ryan Seacrest, whose show over-indexes with Millennials, gave radio shout-outs before the event.
- To create pre-event buzz, CB launched a "Twitter Party," which highlighted uses for Coca-Cola and urged the sharing of Coke stories. The Twitter party trended in the United States.
- An unpaid Walmart Facebook post drove traffic to the event and built excitement among their 1.4MM associates and 30MM+ Facebook fans.
- Share 1MM ice-cold Cokes at Walmart on Sunday, July 6th
- Shopper Events outfitted an in-store event team with key sound bites, hashtags and awesome Coca-Cola gear to make for a unique brand experience that made it easy for shoppers to start sharing in 3,200 Walmart stores.
- Further energized this event group to over-achieve by executing a sales incentive contest for "the most 20-ounce Cokes, Diet Cokes and Coke Zeros sold during the event."
- Made a huge impression on Walmart store associates nationwide by showing them firsthand the sales they could expect to see in the coming weeks if they stayed engaged with Millennials.
- Keep the sharing going
- Bloggers created an engaging online campaign in which the new occasions for drinking Coca-Cola were emphasized for Millennial shoppers.
- Bloggers introduced the "Share It Forward" message by not only showing readers how they had creatively shared Cokes with their friends and family, but by also encouraging readers to "Share It Forward" with select Coca-Cola products from Walmart.
- CB Leveraged key Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest social networks pre-demo, during-demo and post-demo knowing that is where Millennial Walmart shoppers typically engage with brands.
In summary, #shareitforward was a cohesive, synergistic program: the social media drove awareness for the event and provided an ongoing stream of ideas to be shared; the big event energized shoppers and associates in store; and the incremental, inspiring points of an in-store display made it easy for Walmart shoppers to share Cokes—and happiness—all summer long.
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