Happiness on Sale

The war for being the best soft drink has been extended for over a century now. The so called ‘Cola War” is the continuous advertisement form one Cola Company to undermine the other. The two sides of the battleship being Pepsico and The Coca-Cola Company, the war has spread out to every possible channel in the modern world with Coca-Cola clearly taking a lead.

The modern channel which Coca-Cola has adopted to throttle ahead of its rival is the social media space, especially Youtube where its videos are posted and subsequently shared on the entire web space within moments of its launch. There are over a thousand uploads on the Coke’s Youtube channel owing to the overwhelming response from viewers and subscribers.

It has successfully been able to attain what is referred to as the “Marketer’s Dream”. The central theme of Coca-Cola’s strategy is to create and spread “Happiness”: the eternal insatiable emotion that everyone seeks and will definitely have if sold out so easily in the market. Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola’s advertising strategist says that their aim is to create stories that add value and significance to people’s life. These campaigns use guerilla marketing as well as viral advertising to be a Youtube hit.

A few of its most remarkable viral campaigns are:

The Hug Machine: a coke delivery machine was installed to accept hugs instead of money to deliver Happiness i.e. Coke.

The most outrageous way to share a Coke: where engineering students designed an elaborate contraption to pour coke.

The Happiness Truck: videos of a coke truck delivering free coke (=happiness) around the world were posted on the internet.

Small World Machines: One of the most notable viral campaigns which intends to bridge the divide and portray a symbiotic relationship between archrivals India and Pakistan. Installations of machines were made in Delhi and Lahore which enabled people from cross-borders to interact with those who they had never seen. It tends to highlight the deep rooted connection which these neighboring countries bear.


 Why was the campaign successful?

In a way Coca-Cola mastered the art of creating a liquid content i.e. easily spreadable like a liquid. The creation of online videos and their spread on the social media follows an exponential path. The concept of happiness was successful in capturing the share of heart of the target market: the youth, depicting “Happiness”, which everyone so desperately wants, is as easily attainable as is opening a can of Coke. The campaign tends to pitch Coke on the principles of motivation and positivity, and thus making its global acceptance unquestionable because these are virtues which everyone will appreciate irrespective of his/her citizenship or ethnicity. Also, the campaign was able to very strongly link the portrayal in the advertisement back to the Brand Coca-Cola implying an effort to capture the mindshare of the customers as well. It was an interactive campaign also in the sense that it initiated people to talk about the brand and then respond to their comments, making the campaign a more personal one.

Depicting happy people in an ad is one thing but getting people to have a feel of it such that they espouse your brand can be learnt from Coca-Cola. As a result Coke has,


Two and a half times that of Pepsi

Views on Youtube channel

Twice that of Pepsi

Youtube subscribers

Three times that of Pepsi

 Coke is being sold to the customer’s mind and heart as against any other carbonated drink serving just to quench a dry throat!

-Zeeshan Hassan
PGP-2, IIM-Kozhikode

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