Coke Zero has been available in Singapore since 2008 but by 2012 consumer awareness remained low, in part due to limited distribution compared to Coca-Cola.
In 2012, the Singapore government reported that obesity and diabetes were rising at an alarming rate. Mediacom’s research discovered that 25-39 year olds in particular are increasingly conscious of their sugar intake, and are starting to reduce, or in some cases stop, their fizzy drink consumption in the belief that they all contain sugar. Many of them were not aware that Coke Zero was sugar-free, probably because the drink had no media support in 2011-12.
But the challenge was greater than just creating awareness about Coke Zero’s product benefits. The taste is almost indistinguishable from regular Coca-Cola, but Singaporeans simply didn’t believe it and didn’t want to try it. Further research showed that once they tasted it, they changed their minds. The agency just had to find a way to overcome their initial hesitation and persuade them to give Coke Zero a chance.
Island wide sampling would have been extremely costly and would not have helped overcome the sceptics because consumers would see what they were tasting, meaning their preconceived notions of Coke Zero would influence their experience.
Instead, it needed to find an environment where the focus for their senses was on something else so they could taste with an open mind rather than with a comparable “it’s not as good as…brand X” mind-set. If it could convince a small group of people that Coke Zero tasted as good as regular Coca-Cola, we could use that initial group of converts to spread the message further.
The most captive environment for the audience where there’s no talking, no mobile phones, no other adverts and we are guaranteed their full attention is the cinema.
Coke Zero invited 100 existing Coca-Cola drinkers, consumers it hoped would be the least sceptical, to an exclusive cinema screening. When they arrived at the cinema, everyone was given popcorn and Coke Zero served in a Coke Zero cup placed inside a regular Coca-Cola cup, meaning they thought they were drinking regular Coca-Cola.
Just before the movie started, when the brand had their full attention, it aired an ad featuring the person who had served them the popcorn and the drink and he revealed the big surprise; that the drink they thought was Coca-Cola was actually Coke Zero. It then captured the cinema audience’s reactions and testimonials and used this content to create a TVC to convince other Singaporeans that Coke Zero has the same great taste as Coca-Cola, that tasting is believing and everyone should give Coke Zero a chance.
The cinema experience was amplified across multiple touch points to reach as many 25-39 year olds in Singapore as possible, including the TVC on free to air channels, key messages on billboards at bus shelters, TVC content online on iVideo, and on social media through the Coca-Cola Facebook page to recruit the audience for the cinema stunt in the first place.
By the end of the campaign Coke Zero had reached 90% of 25-39 year olds in Singapore. 5 in 10 saw The Swap cinema activation TVC, 6 in 10 saw the bus shelter ads, 8 in 10 saw the online video and 8 in 10 saw the Coca-Cola Facebook page.
Weekly consumption increased by 330%, and its monthly consumption target was exceeded by 30%. Coke Zero brand acceptance grew by 40% and brand love grew by 75%. Great tasting metrics improved by 30%.