World Cup promo pays off for coke in Thailand

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ANGKOK -- Thai Pure Drinks Plc, which bottles Coca-Cola in Thailand, said sales in June and July were up 15% over the same two months last year. This is an impressive performance since the country's economic downturn means soft drink sales for all of 1998 are expected to be flat.

Monchai Soontrawat, Thai Pure Drinks marketing manager, says the rise resulted from World Cup '98 advertising and promotions.

During the matches, the company set up World Cup City at Bangkok's World Trade Center, where at least 5,000 people gathered each night to watch games on huge video walls. "It was the talk of the town during the tournament," Mr. Monchai said. "We successfully raised the awareness Thai consumers."

Another campaign invited people to collect caps from 10-oz. Coke bottles. The names of the 32 countries playing in France appeared on the inside of some caps. Prizes of $5,000 each were awarded for contestants who mailed in a cap with the ultimate winner as well as a post card predicting the winner.

Suthep Nakmora, a dredger with the Royal Irrigation Department who makes $154 a month, decided France was going to win after Brazil lost to Norway in the opening round.

Mr. Suthep drank more Coke than usual. More importantly, he sent his daughters around to shops to collect "French" caps.

Days before the final, Mr. Suthep sent Thai Pure Drinks 500 post cards, with more than 300 picking France as the winner. He also mailed in 18 caps with the word `France' on them.

The company had made clear that each contestant could win only 15 $5,000 prizes. So they handed Mr. Suthep a check in the Thai currency equivalent to $75,000.

McCann-Erickson handles the Coke account in Thailand.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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