Coke to use GPS in contest

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If you're swigging a Coke next summer and feel like you're being followed, don't look over your shoulder. Look in the sky for a helicopter attempting to deliver you a new Hummer.

Coca-Cola Co. is one of the beverage companies with plans to use global-positioning satellites to make instant-win sweepstakes more, well, instant. The marketers are looking to embed GPS receivers in cans and bottles that winners can activate to alert teams that deliver grand prizes.

A separate Summer Olympics contest for Coca-Cola could drop off a prize of $1 million in gold to the winner. WPP Group's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Momentum, St. Louis, are expected to develop supporting advertising and promotional campaigns for the efforts.

"We are still in the process of finalizing our plans," said a Coca-Cola spokesman who declined to elaborate.

Coca-Cola plans a similar promotion in Australia later this month, "Thrill Seeker," tied to the Rugby World Cup finals. For that contest, bottles marked "winner" will include instructions to activate a Thrill Seeker squad that will deliver the prize within 24 hours.

Last month, Cadbury Schweppes unit 7Up announced plans for bottlers to conduct its own GPS-enabled promotion. Consumers would use receivers that would pull in clues from a transmitter to track down 7Up spokesman Godfrey and win a top prize of $100,000.

avoiding clutter

But in light of Coke's promotions, a 7Up spokesman said the company is rethinking its plans to avoid "confusion, clutter and technical challenges."

Coke and 7UP would be the first U.S. marketers to use GPS transmitters to enhance an instant-win promotion, although the technology has been used in other countries.

Coors Canada in July took national a "Tracker Bottle" GPS promotion that it first ran in Quebec in 2001 and 2002. And Anheuser-Busch Cos. embedded GPS receivers in 25 bottles and cans in the U.K. last year for a "True Location" promotion tied to World Cup soccer.

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