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Marketer@Cannes: “We are loyal to our agencies, but always looking for new ideas” – Joseph V Tripodi, The Coca Cola Company

24-June-2010
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Marketer@Cannes: “We are loyal to our agencies, but always looking for new ideas” – Joseph V Tripodi, The Coca Cola Company

Coca Cola, one of the partners of the FIFA World Cup 2010, being held currently in South Africa, had started planning its campaign for the tourney four years ago. The key lessons from the entire planning and execution of the campaign, according to Joseph V Tripodi, EVP, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, The Coca Cola Company, are: no short-cuts to the big idea; collaboration makes everyone better; and authenticity can be only scaled.

Tripodi said that the company had worked with 11 agencies (including creative, media and PR) for the campaign and ideas from everyone were welcome. For example, the PR agency came up with an idea where a local hero of every country would be celebrated in a 60-second video. “Even though there were 11 agencies in a single room, we were open to ideas from everyone. We are fiercely loyal to our agencies, but good ideas are welcome from anywhere. This is collaboration,” he said, adding, that the company didn't treat the agencies as vendors, but as a team.

He added that even though the company was loyal to its agencies, in the age of internet, the company was open to ideas from anyone. “Anyone can come up with ideas and reach to us through the internet,” he said, adding, “Great stories can come from anywhere.”

Tripodi was speaking during the session on ‘Scale Meets Story-Telling’ at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2010, where he told about the journey of the company’s FIFA World Cup campaign.

“There are many stereotypes and misconceptions about South Africa. However, our research showed that the country was about optimism, colour, dance, rhythm, chaos and vuvuzela,” he said.

To start with, a sense of grandeur was given to the journey of the FIFA World Cup trophy tour through 84 countries.

Subsequently, the company chose to adapt the song ‘Wavin’ Flag’ by K’naan as Coca Cola’s theme for the World Cup. “The song is about optimism and positiveness. It is an honest emotional and magical song and is scalable. So, we chose to adapt it,” he said.

Further, the company chose to celebrate Roger Milla, a Cameroonian and former football forward, in a 60-second video. Milla had scored four goals in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, celebrating each one with a dance around the corner post. The dance has since then become a popular goal celebration.

The celebration song has been localised into 20-language versions that celebrate local heroes. “This authenticity inspired a lot of activations... and link with global customers,” Tripodi said. The company also tied up with McDonald’s and YouTube. Since then, thousands of videos have been posted on YouTube about celebrations by people.

“The big lesson for us was that content has value, and with right partners, you can take it to any level,” he added.

According to him, Coca Cola currently has 1.6 billion servings a day. It aims for 3.2 billion servings a day by 2020.

Asked on what was Coca Cola’s USP, Tripodi said, “Apple’s design focus is fabulous. Similarly, Nike has a great emotional connect. No one can be best at everything. We are trying to collaborate the best of all.”

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