Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Brands on UGC websites: The Coca-Cola case study

January 25th, 2008 by


We all follow the growing success of Users Generated Content (UGC) sites. As the top websites still struggle to allow marketers inside, users keep rejecting those efforts and are strongly organizing not to allow marketing campaigns on their behalves.
While marketers realize its time to transfer their focus online, let us follow the top brands activity in the hubs global users spend their time in.

case study: Coca-Cola (no. 4 brand according to BrandZ, no. 1 brand according to Interbrand).

Coca-Cola on Youtube:
Starring on YouTube, the closest to resemble the TV online, Coca-Cola’s biggest success was due to the known series of Diet Coke experiments with Mentos (nostalgia: not too long ago, marketers were carefully picking other brands only if their values found to match- well see how Coke and Mentos nicely match today!). The most viewed from these take offs brought about 8 million views (Comments: 12,500, Favorited: 9704 times), while other videos with this concept brought few million more.
Coca-Cola’s original video (GTA Coke, Coca-Cola video game) brought together about 5 million views (aggregated results: Comments: 5,140, Favorited: 18,575 times), when Coca-Cola presented a car theft video performed by second world avatars.

Coca-Cola on MySpace:
Many MySpace groups were established in connection with Coca-Cola, but all hold very small number of members.
The largest group I could find was Coca-Cola’s Fan club – with 6319 friends.

Coca-Cola on Facebook:
Coca-Cola fans on Facebook count no more than 625.
Coca Cola’s events using Facebook application (Coca-Cola my summer application) involves no more than 17 daily active users.
Largest Facebook’s group for Coca-Cola – counts about 13,000 members (calls to bring the old Xmas advert).

Coca-Cola on Second worlds:
After few innovative experiments – Coca-Cola leaves Second Life to try another second world platform.

Coca-Cola on blogs, forums, Coca-Cola website:
While Coca-Cola generates higher volume in blogs and forums than its direct competitor (Pepsi), it can hardly confront other leading brands on the top brands list (having technology or online advantage).

According to US traffic data provided by Compete, over the last year Coca-Cola lost more than 40% of its visitors (currently = 290k uniques). Alexa, on the other hand presents an opposite trend of world wide traffic (is it that Coca-Cola is losing its power in the USA?)

Over the top social networking sites – Coca-Cola fails to create fans, members and friends.
The YouTube findings, can serve as the best model for Coca-Cola. The most successful Coca- Cola related activity observed, was due to users experimenting in splashing Diet Coke on the ground…



1. Coca Cola – needs to step aside, contribute underground innovative concepts for users to create their own Coke experience. Coca-Cola must understand that “Coke jokes” might be the best brand experience it can empower.

2. If the name of the game is online presence – Coca-Cola as a global leading brand needs to re-think its business assets. For years Coca-Cola met its audiences through mass media, constantly engaging with its targets. Today, when online media is the mass media – Coca-Cola must improve the channels needed to make an optimal reach over. If Coca-Cola wishes to stay on the top brands list – side by side with technology monsters – it should create its own “technology” solution.

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15 Responses

  1.   Brands on UGC websites: The Coca-Cola case study by Says:

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  2. George Says:

    Sorry, but is this really a “case study” … I really enjoy Trendsspotting, but I must take issue with this post.

    Coca-Cola had nothing to do with what you call their biggest success: the Diet Coke / Mentos experiments. In fact, they shunned it and I believe tried to shut it down …

    Second Life (in general and for Coke) is a complete disaster.

    6319 friends on MySpace is hardly a success, given how much $ was spent and how many people are on MySpace. Horrible ROI.

    695 fans on Facebook speaks for itself.

    Your traffic numbers from Compete and Alexa are completely unreliable.

    Your conclusions are totally random:

    Coke jokes? Huh? Where does this come from?

    “Online media is the mass media” … Really? I think it is more of a hyper-targeted media able to engage with specific groups.

    You also encourage them to create a technology solution. One could argue that’s what the whole My Coke Rewards project is about.

    Regardless, I think it is much less about the technology and much more about the brand, the brand’s advocates and the conversations it can have with those advocates and others online.


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  4. Taly Weiss Says:

    Thanks George for your comment,
    In this post I claim that Coca-Cola has no success under popular sites as MySpace and Facebook. I was also pointing to the fact that Coca-Cola’s most successful activity was done unintentionally. Diet Coke on YouTube was probably not a campaign born at Coca- Cola’s office, but it still has successfully turned out to be one of the most successful videos on YouTube. Carrying the Diet Coke with it (joke or not) it generated public discussion (which was not so bad wasn’t it?).
    Frankly George- I do not see where we disagree..

  5. Arch Says:

    I agree with George. My Coke Rewards is a great example of Coke using technology to connect with its audience. It was supposed to be a short promotion, but has continued to grow and to be extended, now in its second year, here are some stats from a Jan. 2008 press release:

    – the program more than doubled its membership in 2007.

    – With 8.7 million users, My Coke Rewards has become the second most popular consumer packaged goods website on the Internet

    – members have entered nearly 2 billion codes and claimed more than 4.7 million rewards in less than two years.

    – Every day more than 285,000 people visit the

    – the site sees more visitors every month than any other non-alcoholic beverage brand website

  6. Taly Weiss Says:

    Hello Arch,
    My Coke Rewards is probably a good example for Coke successful attempts to reach online users. In this TrendsSpotting review we checked Coca-Cola in User Generated sites. Those sites behave very differently from traditional sites, Where Coca-Cola has no means to control the rewards and communication between users.

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