Coca-Cola ‘Share-A-Coke’ continues to gather buzz

Fact. Australians drink a lot of cola. We like to wash down every meal with a Coke whether it’s after a happy meal at Maccas or dumplings in Chinatown. That’s why I like the month-old Share-a-Coke campaign. It puts 150 of Australia’s most popular names on Coke cans where we’re accustomed to seeing the brand name. Stops you in your tracks the first time and then makes you eagerly peer at every new can you buy, to see which name you’ve got. With 150 names thats a lot of conversations started – more than most TVC’s get.

Facebook users have been posting pictures of the cans to their walls and profiles everytime they’ve found a can with their name or one of their friends. On the Facebook page, users can listen to & download custom created songs, one for each of the 150 names. You can also share a virtual can online with your friends. Earlier in the campaign users could nominate names using the Facebook app.

Great to see a major advertiser choose an interactive + activation strategy and forego the standard solely TV skewed campaign execution. I salute them for being ballsy enough to take this punt using their most coveted real-estate – the Coke can and bottles.

This is a lesson here for marketers. Don’t just brief your agencies to come up with a viral idea and leave them to it. Show them your willingness to push brand guidelines and norms to take their concepts to a higher plane.



Facebook Timeline rewrites Social Networking [Opinion]

Facebook introduced it’s new Timeline feature at the annual F8 conference last Thursday and already it’s got people divided as with any Facebook profile change. The new feature restructures users profiles, arranging all user activity past and present chronologically, from status updates to Place check-ins. You can now share more about yourself – books you’re reading, movies you’re watching. Facebook has also tied up 3rd party services like Yahoo, Spotify so you can interact with these apps directly from Facebook.

This is a potential game changer, which makes the users newsfeed and profile more rich and alive. The new Timeline looks more visually appealing, with a more Tumblr or Myspace feel than the standard social network template of Facebook and Google+ we’ve been accustomed to. Using instructions on Mashable I enabled the timeline on my page in advance of next weeks rollout and personally like it immediately.

FB Timeline Sample

I’ve always recognized the value of having an interesting profile on various social networks each for different reasons, social or business. I think with the introduction of Timeline, one does n0t need another digital outpost as this replaces the need for having a personal blog or having a presence on other social networks (sorry Google+).

Social networking is as much about expressing your personality and life events as it is about connecting with people you want to stay with. The Timeline caters to the first objective superbly and should appeal to the younger demographic. Older users may find the new feature too revealing and creepy.

But as Forresters research shows, not all social networking users are alike. The Creator segment is mostly those who have 500+ friends and post updates, check-ins and pictures regularly. Timeline may just make Facebook more sticky to this segment who are the consumers of tomorrow. From an advertiser perspective, as the information in the Facebook profile database grows and becomes richer, it will strengthen Facebooks advertising proposition.

You can view the introductory video that Facebook released here.

42% of Aussie businesses plan to increase Social Media investment in 2011

Almost half of Australian businesses surveyed in the 2nd Nielsen-Community Engine Social Media Business Benchmarking Study plan to increase investment in the coming year. This increase is being driven by a stronger conviction of the need to be in this channel (66%) and also its targeting (50%) and ROI (40%) benefits.

Nielsen-Community-Engine-2011 StudyOther highlights from the study:

  • Top uses for SM – 50% Marketing and 30% each for CRM, Customer Service and Public Relations.
  • Budget is primarily spent on display advertising on social networks or maintaining Facebook presence (21% each)
  • Popular social media activities engaged in – maintaining a presence on social networks (28%) followed by tracking/monitoring (26%), responding to comments (25%)
  • Public Sector lags private sector with 51% respondents believing it lacks internal knowledge and expertise to undertake SM activities

In summary, it’s refreshing that businesses have moved past the stage of questioning the ROI and value of social media investments. Many businesses (31%) have reported strong or reasonable ROI returns in 2010. For Australian businesses the challenge continues to be resources – only 8% have full-time staff.

Businesses will eventually need to set up Social Media departments with separate budgets, KPI’s and staff and integrate their efforts with all other paid and owned media. Only then will businesses become more responsive and interactive like their US counterparts. In short, it’s time to go beyond the current ‘create and forget’ a Facebook presence approach.