Brand Owner: Coca-Cola Co.
Category: Drinks (non-alcoholic)
Date: March to October 2005
Media Agency: Universal McCann
Other Agencies: Octagon
Media Channels: Internet, public relations
Coca-Cola wanted to reinvigorate its sponsorship of the Australian Football League and convince fans that a U.S.-owned soft drink could understand their mysterious sport.
The solution was to apply an old media device -- the phone-in -- in a new and relevant way. Coke established an online message board, allowing fans to air their views and comments. And the board was used as valuable content that positioned Coke as the voice of the sports fan.
The company made sure the website would be more than a community of moaners, building an online exchange that let fans express their views on how teams were run, how coaches were performing and how the sport was managed in a business sense.
To do this, Coke created cokemakeyourmark.com.au, and each week Coke picked up opinions off the site and offered the fan musings to local football media outlets for use as content.
The content was referred to as the "voice of the fans" and was used by the Channel Nine Sunday Footy Show, Triple preview and AFL.com.au. The strategy of combining comment with PR-thinking not only made Coke a credible AFL partner, it also got fans talking. Coke's forum attracted 200,000 fans, who made 345,000 postings.
The site, built by Australian sports website Sportal and managed by Octagon, enabled Coke to add substance to its AFL association.
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