Coca-Cola, Samsung team up for promotion

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PRAGUE -- Coca-Cola has teamed up with Samsung in a massive give-away promotion designed to encourage consumers to chill the drink. Some 400 lucky households in the Czech and Slovak Republics will be given a free refrigerator if they are found with a bottle of Coca-Cola in their fridge at the time of a surprise visit by a Coke team.

The "Coke in the fridge" concept was originated in Coca-Cola's Prague office under Coke Brand Manager Radim Svoboda, with support from FCB Publicis which handles the Coke brand advertising.

Through mid-April, 200 refrigerators will be given away in the Czech Republic along with an additional 100 in the Slovak Republic. An additional 100 Czechs and one Slovak will receive refrigerators in a national lottery for consumers who mail in five Coca-Cola proof-of-purchase bar codes.

Coca-Cola's Region Manager Roger Ruark says the promotion is a long term branding exercise designed to convince consumers to drink Coca-Cola brand products cold.

"Because like in much of Europe, consumers in the Czech and Slovak Republics drink Coke at room temperature. Since ice availability remains low in central Europe, we chose to create a tie-in promotion with a refrigerator manufacturer to make our point," he says.

Other companies were approached, including Whirlpool, "but Samsung was a good fit for us, partly because they are active in the Slovak Republic as well."

The homes in the contest were chosen using a global positioning system that was developed for naval and aviation tracking purposes, Svoboda says, in which a computer randomly identifies an exact location on a map for the team to visit, "so that the competition really is open to everyone. The team does not know whose house it is going to visit beforehand."

The promotion is fully-supported in TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising and photographs of the winners are printed in local newspapers. "Word of mouth has been one of the best means of communication though," Ruark says, particularly in small towns and villages where news travels quickly.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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