Coca-Cola and Christmas go well; the brand has a heritage of promotion during the festive season since decades. The brand's core value of ‘Open Happiness’ goes nicely with the season of giving, receiving and celebrating family relationships. In 2009, the brand wanted to increase brand engagement and brand love and to broaden its pre-existing Christmas assets. The challenge was to leverage this festive heritage online and make ‘happiness’ digital to make the brand more engaging and interactive.
Coke realised its consumers were very sentimental and family-focussed and spent time visiting family members to celebrate Christmas. Consumers also really enjoyed decorating their homes and sending personal messages and greeting cards to their friends. Christmas is also a time when consumers think about others, those less fortunate than themselves. These three insights led Coke to form a campaign.
Coke developed a tool that allowed users to decorate the houses of their loved ones online, and to send the final result as a personal message to their nearest and dearest. The brand extended the concept across the digital landscape, letting them decorate YouTube, and add festive lights to their social media profile.
Finally, Coca Cola helped people show they cared at such a special time of the year, by including a charitable donation for every decoration on the brand’s microsite, raising money for children's charity ‘Ein Herz für Kinder’. The message ran across all German language markets, concentrating on the German market itself as well as reaching out to families in Austria and Switzerland.
A specially developed Google Maps application on the Coca Cola Christmas landing page allowed consumers to search for addresses, decorate a selected house with Christmas decorations and lights and share it via a "Send-a-friend" application. For every decorated house, Coca Cola donated €1 ($1.2) to Ein Herz für Kinder.
Consumers could use the brand’s lights, stars and flashing snowmen to decorate their own photos - even from their mobile phones. Coca Cola leveraged its decoration application via social media, allowing consumers to decorate their own profiles on social media platforms such as StudiVZ and Facebook. Once a user decorated a house, they could also publish it on Facebook via a ‘Badge of Honour’ that recognised them as a Christmas lights decorator.
On StudiVZ, users could decorate their profiles with Christmas decorations and get in touch with Coca Cola via a specially branded Santa Claus profile to celebrate the Christmas spirit. On YouTube they could add decorations via an interactive online ad. The brand promoted its tools via online and mobile as well as offline activities such as TV, print, out of home and PR.
More than 250,000 houses were decorated via the Coke Christmas homepage and nearly 250,000 social media profiles got a festive makeover. Coke’s interactive YouTube masthead was decorated 1.5 million times, delivering 12 million ad impressions. Consumers sent more than 400,000 individually decorating greetings via Coke. The Santa Claus profile gained 125,000 friends while the whole campaign generated 320 million consumer contacts and 1.7 million website visits. The brand raised €250,000 ($323,702) for Ein Herz für Kinder.