The beverage giant is kicking off its Olympic program with the launch of collectible packaging featuring the Coca-Cola script logo in five languages: Russian, Ethiopian, Thai, Mandarin and English. The designs will grace both 12-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles.
"There's something special about the global reach and connection of the Olympic Games, and we wanted to recognize how the games bring cultures and communities together," said Andy McMillin, group director of Coca-Cola trademark, Coca-Cola North America. "The idea of using our packaging to celebrate the Olympics and connecting with the world over a Coke was simple yet powerful."
A "six pack" of Olympic athletes will also be featured on packaging and in-store materials. The group includes Natalie Coughlin, swimming; Steven Lopez, tae kwon do; Sanya Richards, track and field; Lebron James, basketball; Andy Potts, triathlon; and Shawn Johnson, gymnastics. "We had a huge response from bottlers and customers to this program, so you should see their faces in retail outlets everywhere all summer long," Mr. McMillin said.
The athletes will also be a part of Coca-Cola's advertising program, with NBC vignettes scheduled to air during the lead-up to the Olympics. The spots will include sound bites from the athletes, as well as footage of the cans. In addition, a commercial touting the company's 80-year relationship with the Olympics is planned.
Array of online offerings
Online efforts will be another focus of the company's marketing push. A dedicated Olympics section will be located at MyCoke.com and online advertising will drive teenage consumers to the site, Mr. McMillin said. The site will feature Olympic-themed downloads, sweepstakes and merchandise, as well as a "Design the World a Coke" function. Visitors can use Coca-Cola's contour bottle, along with a library of images and graphic tools to create a design, which can then be shared in online galleries and posted to social-networking sites.
WE8, another online element, involves collaboration between eight visual artists and eight musicians to create eight limited-edition aluminum bottle designs and free, downloadable tunes to accompany them. Those bottles will then be distributed to customers through a sampling program at Simon malls.
"We're creating excitement for the Olympics by launching the program almost three months before opening ceremonies," Mr. McMillin said. "We think people are going to have a lot of fun collecting the different cans and then pulling for our Coca-Cola athletes during the games."
Coca-Cola's lead agency on its Olympic program is Momentum, Atlanta, but other shops are involved, including Studiocom, Atlanta (Mycoke.com); Juxt, Newport Beach, Calif. (Olympic portion of Mycokerewards.com*); Leo Burnett Co., Chicago (80-year anniversary ad); and Wieden & Kennedy (global agency of record).
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CORRECTION: An earlier version said Juxt handled the Olympic portion of Mycoke.com.