Case Study Marketing Communication

What do effective integrated marketing campaigns have in common?

Integrated marketing campaigns can be a tricky art to perfect. We live in a multi-media world, which means that new media and old media sit alongside one another, sometimes competing, other times working collectively - in the case of integrated campaigns they work together.

However despite saying all of this, what is it that actually leads to successful results? Consistent branding and messaging, frequency of communications and deciding on your primary medium are collectively important points to factor in. Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive integrated campaigns:

#1 Compare the Market - Baby Oleg

On Christmas Day 2013, comparethemarket.com released a television advert revealing new character Baby Oleg. In January 2014 the campaign went into full swing with an advertisement promoting a cuddly toy to accompany the cute Meerkat. Following this announcement a blog was created for Oleg online, for customers to read, encouraging emotional involvement: http://www.comparethemarket.com/meerkat/blog/oleg/.

Connecting the character from the advertisement with the audience has been achieved by creating a toy and the blog, turning Oleg into a character that can create emotional involvement - integrated collectively these separate parts to the campaign have driven consumer engagement successfully.

More recently, in August we were shown Baby Oleg’s life journey.

The continuous roll out and development on this character throughout the year has proven consistency of the brand and messaging - key factors in creating a solid campaign. These friendly Meerkats have almost become part of everyday life, as they quite literally pop up everywhere.

#2 O2 - Be More Dog

Originally launch last year O2’s ‘Be More Dog’ campaign, which featured a ginger cat trying to live a dog’s life had been a huge success for the brand. Granted - being ‘more dog’ has nothing to do with mobile phones, but the quirkiness of the integrated campaign is what led its success.

To promote its revamped priority app in May 2014 launched a £7m campaign using England rugby players, Mike Brown and Alex Goode attempting to Be More Dog: in this, we see the cat become a motivational speaker.

As well as television and cinema, the campaign also features outside and online executions, with geo-located mobile advertisements and homepage takeovers on a range of websites, including MSN and YouTube. The O2 priority app in itself is a marketing tool, offering consumers the chance to buy tickets and experiences before anyone else.

This integrated marketing campaign from O2 is so clever it not only intrigues users due to its kooky nature and offers them something extra in the form of priority.

#3 Three.co.uk - Sorry for all the holiday Spam

Launching a package for customers to use their phone in 16 destinations worldwide like they would at home, with no extra cost for data led to 3 having to make one large apology... to the entire nation.

Due to their poor deal, it mean't everyone was constantly on social media whilst on their holiday, encouraging a shed load of holiday spam: photos of beaches, swimming pools, sunsets, tanned legs and of course, food. Along with this there a website was created dedicated to the cause: http://www.stopholidayspam.com.

The first part of the campaign, the television advertisement was enough to get viewers’ attention, but then came customer engagement and interaction. As predicted or at least as the marketers over at 3 had hoped consumers got involved and took holiday snaps using the hashtag #holidayspam. Of course some of those social media posts wouldn’t have been done consciously because of 3, which makes the campaign so clever.

Relevance is the key to this integrated campaign - it was successful by people being able to relate to it, whether they were on holiday, or fed up of everyone else’s holiday spam. The campaign was also consistent with the hashtag #holidayspam included in every part of the marketing collateral.

#4 Lidl - #lidlsurprises

The most recent Lidl Surprises, ingenious campaign rolled out on the 4th September on television, print and outdoor - accompanied by a larger than normal social media boost.

The TV advertisement shows customers enthusiastically looking at, and purchasing wholesome goods at a little market, which in fact turns out to be a Lidl market - this is followed with the #lidlsurprises tagline, because everyone loves a pun.

The hashtag/tagline has been integrated throughout all channels connecting all elements together. There’s also an interactive website dedicated to #lidlsurprises where you can spin to receive the surprise result of a recipe to cook: https://www.lidlsurprises.co.uk.

The entire campaign is amongst Lidl’s efforts to step away from traditional media, moving into engaging and interacting with its customers on social media and in stores. Mixing both traditional and digital media together offers a smooth transition to a more up to date modern approach for Lidl’s marketing efforts.

This campaign is definitely a step in the right direction, putting Lidl right up against UK supermarket giants like Tesco and Asda. It is difficult to determine the full extent of the success this campaign has achieved yet. Despite this, the social media buzz surrounding it was significant.

#5 Coca-Cola - Coca-Cola Life

Recently, Coca-Cola launched a new product to its long standing line of soft drinks, called 'Coca-Cola Life' along with a month long campaign. Coca-Cola Life fits in the same kind of category as Coke Zero and Diet Coke - another one of Coca-Cola’s attempts to release a healthier option to its main heavily sugary product.

The campaign is being rolled out across 7,000 outdoor locations nationwide with billboards, bus and digital screen ads; these are all being supported by print, digital, experiential and point of sale activity. Although television is not being used the buzz on social media since the drinks’ launch has been mainly positive.

Along with all of the above, Coca-Cola launched a competition - on Saturday 20th September a pop-up shop opened on South Molton Street, London offering customers to not just have a taste of the new Life drink, but also give them a chance of winning a Coca-Cola Life prize - one of those being a long weekend in New York City. Of course, to fulfil the campaign’s integrated position those who were not able to visit the pop-up shop still had the chance to enter the competition by sharing a Coca-Cola Life moment picture online and using the hashtags #CocaColaLife and #comp.

The product is yet to be proven as a success, but as a campaign it’s fulfilling every specification to be a great integrated marketing campaign.

There’s a few lessons that can be learned from these integrated marketing case studies; one of those being that it doesn’t matter if you mix up the media within your campaign, in fact it’s largely positive, you just have to ensure that there is brand consistency across the entire roll out.

The way in which the message is communicated can also alter the effectiveness of the campaign, as can choosing which media should be at the forefront or the driving factor behind your strategy. It can all become a difficult balance to get right but it’s crucial that you do get it right.

[Editor's note: Thanks to Maggie for selecting and describing these case studies of integrated campaigns so well. For our advice on creating better integrated campaigns, see our integrated campaign planning guide and template for Expert members.]

Maggie Majstrova is the Studio Manager at Higher Ground Creative, with a background in Account Management and Web Development. You can connect with Maggie on LinkedIn and Google+ 

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This case study examines the Coca Cola IMC approach as described in the Cola War blog. Factors considered will include an examination of which components are expended in regards to the integrated approach, the comparative importance of the components, component efficiency, and the overall success of the IMC approach.

Integrated Components Used

The integrated components used by Coca Cola employed a mass media methodology which included television advertising, print media and banner ads. The approach utilized a marketing mix of advertising, direct marketing, as well as Web based interactive and social media marketing and sales promotion.

Coca Cola advertising has historically been among the most prolific in marketing history. The various ad campaigns throughout the company’s one hundred twenty nine year history have often had a major impact on culture and society, including a hit song which received airplay on popular radio stations in 1971. The logo and bottle designs are immediately recognizable throughout the world, and are integral to brand’s image and recognition in the marketplace (Wikipedia, 2015). In the southern U.S. the beverage is so pervasive that all soft drinks, typically referred to variously as soda, pop, or soda pop, are called Coke (McConchie, 2015). Coca Cola has repeatedly been ranked as the number one soft drink in the world as a direct result of their aggressive advertising campaigns, and was even the first soft drink consumed by astronauts in space (Hartlaub, 2015).

Direct marketing efforts by Coca Cola are myriad. The devices operated incorporate vendor company partnerships designed for exclusivity, i.e. restaurants and movie theatres only offer Coke products, eliminating any direct competition. They sponsor sporting events via use of the company, e.g. baseball fields, again offering attendant consumers the brand’s products solely. This allows for one-to-one sales to important clients in especially reserved seating areas. Mobile marketing endeavors send out text messages in an attempt to personalize promotions, and viral marketing exertions rely heavily on word-of-mouth communication from brand loyalists (Wilkin, 2009).

Web based and social media marketing campaigns constitute industry benchmarks. Because the brand is so universally recognized throughout the world, little if any audience building is necessary. Fans number over eighty six million across social media channels engaged by the brand. Differing tactics are provided on individual social networking sites, yet a consistently unified message is upheld. Crowd-sourced content as well as direct engagement are hallmarks of Coca Cola’s social media marketing (Shively, 2014). Web based interactive marketing is focused on design and functionality, relying on banners, video and public relations. New products, online games, and social, cultural and sporting events are the focus of the Coca Cola Website content (Darakeva, 2013). Coca Cola’s commitment to a campaign of audience engagement throughout their online marketing crusades is well recognized.

Sales promotion for Coca Cola is aimed at two strategies, retail and food service. Retail efforts are directed toward company partnerships, direct store delivery and point-of-sale (POS) techniques. Reliance on exclusive company partnerships wherein restaurants only offer Coke products eliminates competition. Direct store delivery is a crucial link in the value chain, and offers mobile advertising with bright red delivery trucks emblazoned with the brand logo. POS displays include brand specific coolers for in-store sales along with vending machines which carry Coke products. Food service activities emphasize Coke products in food pairings, menu optimization, and specialty beverages. Meals comprised of convenience foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, etc., are often supplemented by the suggestion of Coke products for accompaniment. Such foods may be combined with Coca Cola brand drinks for menu optimization, which may include specialty beverages such as Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, and others (CokeSolutions, 2014).

Comparative Importance of the Components

A comparison of the relative importance of the Coca Cola IMC components reveals a marketing communications mix which is iconic. So much of the brand image is immediately recognizable, right down to the bright red and white lettering of the names Coke and Coca Cola. This imagery is carried out globally, and is so established and acclaimed world-wide that even in languages that may not be familiar in local markets are readily known by consumers (Wikipedia, 2015). Multi-lingual ad use was in fact the case during the recent airing of the NFL Super Bowl Championship, in which the use of English, Spanish, Tagalog, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres, and Senegalese-French languages were incorporated along with the song America the Beautiful (Indian Country Today Media Network, 2015).

The Coca Cola IMC messaging has established a longing for the product that supersedes the desire for that typically associated with a drink to quench one’s thirst (Dudovskiy, 2015). The rank and positioning of the elements used as part of the integrated marketing approach cannot therefore be overstated. The resultant international presence of Coca Cola is a direct outgrowth of the marriage of the advertising, direct marketing, as well as Web based interactive and social media marketing and sales promotion efforts that have been included over the years in their IMC endeavors. Coca Cola has established itself as a player on the large-scale stage as a direct outcome secondary to the comparative importance of the components of the integrated marketing communications mix.

Component Efficiency

The efficiency of the combined IMC elements has proven to be quite lucrative. Revenue has recently been listed at forty six billion USD, with a profit margin of 15.43% and a book value per share of six dollars and ninety five cents USD (Yahoo! Finance, 2015). Annual sales in excess of forty six billion USD and a ranking of #4 of the World’s Most Valuable Brands place Coca Cola squarely on the global market. The company, which was incorporated on September 5, 1919, now carries over five hundred different beverages which are marketed on six continents (Forbes, 2014).

he competence of the combined components used in the Coca Cola integrated marketing communications exemplifies the excellence that can be achieved by a single brand. The achievement can further be evaluated by examination of media metrics such as advertising equivalency, the sum total audience which has been attained through particular media outlets, statistical figures of journalists hosted, number of articles published etc. In terms of market share benchmarks, Coca Cola is promoting and selling its products in over two hundred countries, and employs almost one hundred forty thousand associates, lending credence to the consideration of the company as a market leader in the majority of these marketplaces. Assessment of unique Website visitors, length of visit, search engine results (both free and paid) numbering in the billions on both Google and Bing and others offer insight to the combined component efficacy (Dudovskiy, 2015).

Overall Success of the IMC Approach

An effective integrated marketing communications approach that is deployed and maintained is an essential modern business requirement (Perner, 2008). In terms of successful outcome, Coca Cola’s IMC approach has set a standard that offers a point of reference of desired triumph that is enviable across the industrial landscape. Record-setting sales and revenues, brand visibility and recognition and positioning on the global market are indicative of the Herculean levels of accomplishment achieved by the company. Coca Cola products are consumed world-wide as a direct result of retail and in-store marketing efforts which are meticulously detailed. In the almost one hundred thirty years of business practice in the soft drink trade, Coke has risen to the top of the industrial food chain.

The elements which are expended in regards to the integrated approach, the comparative importance of the components, component efficiency, and the overall success of the IMC approach have combined to create a sensation that customers have warmly embraced. As long as this integrated marketing communications strategy is utilized there is no doubt that Coca Cola will continue to be a market leader that is universally recognized.


Works Cited

CokeSolutions. (2014). Beverage Sales Strategies for Soft Drink Marketing. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from CokeSolutions: http://www.cokesolutions.com/MarketingTools/Pages/Site%20Pages/Strategies%20and%20Solutions.aspx

Darakeva, V. (2013). Internet marketing of the Coca Cola Company. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/VenelinaDarakeva/internet-marketing-of-the-cocacola-company

Dudovskiy, J. (2015). Coca-Cola Marketing Communications: A Critical Analysis. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from Research Methodology: http://research-methodology.net/coca-cola-marketing-communications-a-critical-analysis/

Forbes. (2014). Coca Cola on the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands List. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/companies/coca-cola/

Hartlaub, P. (2015). Sweet! America’s top 10 brands of soda – Business – US Business – Food Inc. | NBC News. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from NBCNews: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42255151/ns/business-us_business/t/sweet-americas-top-brands-soda/#.VPL2zWd0z1I

Indian Country Today Media Network. (2015). Coca-Cola’s ‘America the Beautiful’ Super Bowl Ad Causes Stir – ICTMN.com. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from Indan Country Today Media Network: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/02/03/coca-colas-america-beautiful-super-bowl-ad-causes-stir-153391

McConchie, A. (2015). The Pop vs. Soda Page. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from Pop vs. Soda: http://popvssoda.com/

Perner, L. (2008). Promotion: Integrated Marketing Communication. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from ConsumerPsychologist: http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/intro_Promotion.html

Shively, K. (2014). Lessons from Coca-Cola’s Social Media Strategy: Cohesive Campaigns and Creative Content | Simply Measured. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from Simply Measured: http://simplymeasured.com/blog/2014/05/22/lessons-from-coca-colas-social-media-strategy-cohesive-campaigns-and-creative-content/

Wikipedia. (2015). Coca Cola – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola

Wilkin, R. N. (2009). Coca Cola’s Original Coke: Marketing Communication Mix. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from Blogspot: http://cocacolasoriginalcoke.blogspot.com/2009/04/marketing-communication-mix.html

Yahoo! Finance. (2015). KO Key Statistics | Coca Cola Company (The) Common Stock | Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from Yahoo! Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=KO+Key+Statistics

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