Coca-Cola China Looks to Crowdsourcing Platform for Extra Creative Fizz

The Brand Is Casting a Wide Net for Some New Ideas

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Coca-Cola China is turning to a crowdsourcing platform for new creative ideas
Coca-Cola China is turning to a crowdsourcing platform for new creative ideas 

Coca-Cola China is looking for some new ideas, so it's put a challenge to creatives on a crowdsourcing platform, asking for videos that show what Coke tastes like.

"Don't create an ad for Coke -- we are interested in your creative point of view about the taste," reads Coke's brief on the crowdsourcing platform eYeka. "If you had to explain to an alien who has never tried it before, which particular element of the Coke taste experience would you talk about, and what creative expression would you show him to get him to crave a sip of that Coke taste?"

Coke has used crowdsourcing before, including in China and Southeast Asia. What's interesting is what the brand is expecting out of the video submissions -- content, maybe, but also a kind of impressionistic market research. The initiative came from agency McCann Shanghai, said Richard Cotton, content and creative excellence director for Coca-Cola China.

"Rather than going through the normal channels, interviewing lots of people about what ... Coke tastes like, which we've done millions of times, the idea was to take it one step further," Mr. Cotton said. "It's a very personal thing, taste, and words don't necessarily capture it, so getting people to express that through video, through photography, eventually could lead us to a much more visceral and interesting place."

Beyond that, he said, "ideally it will get us some really great submissions we can actually use as content."

Coke will give out more than $31,000 in prize money in the video contest, which is open to creatives outside China, too, and runs through Jan. 18. A similar search for print ideas is also in the works. "We are casting a wide net," Mr. Cotton said.

The brief asks people to make videos or animations on one of five themes. A few are a bit out there. One is "Romance of the Magical Caramel Liquid," and another is "What It Does To Me." ("What happens when you think about the physical and mental release after the 'Ahhh' effect? Is it the uplifting energy provided by the 'Ahhh' effect? Do you feel revitalized after the 'Ahhh' effect? Or is it just the happy and refreshing feeling that comes with the drink?")

Coke's big summer campaign in China was its second "Share a Coke" effort. Isobar put scannable song lyrics on packaging that let people share short musical clips with friends on Chinese social media. Coke called them "musicons," for musical icons.

Coca-Cola has been facing weaker international growth and growing concern about obesity and artificial sweeteners, and it released disappointing global earnings figures in the third quarter of 2014, with profit dropping 14% from the previous year. Consumption shrunk by 1% in China, but the company cited brand Coke's performance there as a bright spot, with volume growth of 4%. The company is also diversifying its product range in China with a new citrus soft drink, Schweppes C+.

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