"Shark Tale" got the green light for brand Coke in part, according to knowledgeable executives, because it reflected the brand's attribute of authenticity. A key theme in the movie deals with a young fish learning to value longer-term, harder-won characteristics of authenticity over the short-term admiration and fawning gained by telling a lie.
Michael E. Jones, group director-integrated programming, Coca-Cola North America, and a Coke spokesman declined to comment on details about the scope of the "Shark Tale"/Coke program, as did DreamWorks.
Coke employs a "property-screener process" developed by Jones and his team. It is the soda marketer's proprietary analytical approach to sorting through the nearly 300 film and "myriad" TV show prospects presented to them annually. A five-point scorecard assesses such elements as volume driving potential, the program's scope and scale; brand-integration opportunities; a program's efficiency; the property's sustainability; and its innovation potential.
%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% "We don't have an overt TV and film strategy," said Jones at last week's Promotion Marketing Association's annual conference in Chicago. "Strategy is driven by brand." However, he said, connections with movies and films "contemporize, legitimize and personalize a brand," and also offer a way to extend a brand's marketing program. As a recent success, Jones cited the integration of Coke's Powerade with the recent movie, "The Matrix: Reloaded." "Our ads truly looked and felt like they're part of the movie and the entertainment," said Jones.
Recent youth research validates Coke's entertainment strategy. Among young people, watching TV and going to the movies were cited as an "activity most likely to do with your spare time for fun and enjoyment" by 58 percent and 54 percent, respectively, of 16 to 24 year olds surveyed by Yankelovich Partners in 2003. Both activities ranked higher than having sex, cited by 41 percent.