Coca-Cola reveals campaign secret

Coca-Cola will tell this year’s Smart Conference how supply chain flexibility made its ‘Have a Coke with a Mate’ campaign successful

Coca-Cola reveals campaign secret
Coca-Cola reveals campaign secret

By Sean Muir | March 22, 2013

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA)
is set to reveal
how supply chain flexibility made its ‘Share a Coke with a Mate’ campaign successful at this year's Smart Conference.

CCA will tell delegates at the conference, to be held in June
Sydney, how
the company
stood conventional wisdom on its head to print Australia’s top 150 names on Coke bottles and cans for the renowned campaign.

Supply Chain Director Bruce Herbert says the marketing campaign, widely praised for its innovation, required a defocus on asset optimisation, big run printing, and deliveries of the same SKU, to enable a batch size of one, produced on demand in shopping centres.

According to Herbert, the main supply chain challenge was that the company’s bottle and can suppliers were set up for print batches of hundreds of thousands at a time.

He says based on the ‘big batch mentality’, to get 150 different varieties of labels on bottles or cans, the company would have, effectively, needed 150 different print batches.

"You might start on Aaron and Andrew, but by the time you got to Ziggy, or whoever, at the end of the list, it might be months down the track, so the whole thing wouldn’t work," he says.

"We needed to get to the point where we could have up to seven names in a carton of product so we could just run our normal production, and going out to our customers would be a whole mix of names.

"It would still take a little bit of time to cycle through all the names on the list, but at any one location when someone went to a retail outlet’s fridge there would be a choice of names, without the owner of the store having to mix the product up – it would just be the way it came out of the box."

Herbert says the trick in the end was working closely with the company’s two major suppliers to adapt their printing processes.

"They came up with a kind of two-stage process, one where they had a standard background, and a separate process to put the range of different names on them."

"We could then mix those names up, or our suppliers could mix them up so that the supplied product, which was either a reel of labels for bottles or a pallet of empty cans, had a significant range of names in them," he says.

"In both cases neither of them had done anything like that before."

"So it required invention by them of new processes. Then we could just run it through our standard supply chain with an appropriate variety of names."

says from a marketing perspective the value of the campaign was clear –
Coke needed to get people talking about its product again.

"Our instinctive response to that was, ‘we have no idea how to do it, but we want to do it because we can see the value, therefore we will find a way’."

The ‘Coke with a Mate’ campaign was estimated to have achieved more than 18 million media impressions, while young adult consumption was estimated to have been up about 7 percent.

Traffic on the Coke Facebook site was estimated to have increased by almost 900 percent in Australia and about 76,000 virtual Coke cans were shared online.

Read the full article in the April issue of SupplyChain Review

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