Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Where’s the Buzz: Coca Cola’s “Rent a Blog” Strategy

July 7th, 2008 by

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Last Thursday (July 3rd), Coca Cola Brazil launched the drink i9 – Hidrotonico, the Brazilian version of Powerade. As a part of the i9 marketing strategy in blogs & social media, Coca Cola handpicked 9 prominent bloggers, custom made their homepage and gifted them a fancy USB mini fridge with the new product to be tested – a reason to blog about.

i9 bloggers homepage

As can be expected, Coca Cola’s message and marketing strategy surreptiously got spread , until the story was picked up by BlueBus. Making a mockery of Coca Cola’s strategy to buy bloggers, it introduced a new term to refer to the picked blogs :”blogs-de-aluguel” or “rent-a-blog“. Bloggers reacted to that with “I am not a rent-a-blog blogger” manifesto.

The Manifesto reads:

“A blog is a personal page, is a time logbook, is expression, is someone saying what they think/reckon/believe for those who want to read it. There aren’t bloggers’ union, wages, holidays, but we do lots of overtime. A blogger is not a journalist or an advertising agent: they can be everything and nothing, teenager or mother, hairdresser or CEO. Each one has the audience they deserve, the credibility they have conquered.”

Legitimizing ads through blogs they stated: “Advertisers are discovering how best to use this tool to reach niche …. Currently, the best alternative for brands come in blogs”.

Adding a pinch of salt to the Coke strategy to curb bloggers democracy, Cartoonist Andrew Dahmer published a satirical comic strip on false democracy.


The discussion was all over in blogs and tweets.

Coca Cola’s i9 marketing program may not be successful (or has it already created the i9 buzz?) – but it surely brought to some “street fights” on Portuguese blogs. We feel – this ethical issue will soon be discussed globally.

Worth spreading!

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22 Responses

  1. Ameya Pimpalgaonkar Says:

    I kinda liked the menifesto, however i think blogs are more over becoming and being written for money. (I am generalizing it only)There are a few people who really want to sahre the ideas. If Coke is foraying into this i am sure blogging will not be the same ever again as we are comercializing the things.

  2. The Truth Says:

    All the blogger crying foul are jealous they didn’t get one. If they did they would have written about it. My opinion.

  3. Paula Says:


    Thanks for spreading this out, but would you mind giving credit to the selection of links and translation (word by word in the case of the manifesto)? A link to the original article saying that you used it to build your post on would suffice. Of course, GVO is all CC, but giving credit is a good practice that we respect!

    Thank you

  4. Paula Says:


    Sorry for my mistake last comment – I have just seen the link.


  5. Jason Peck Says:

    I don’t really think the manifesto is accurate. While not all bloggers are journalists, some of them think of themselves this way and hold their writing to the same standards as journalists.

  6. Sajal Says:

    This is conversational marketing, the discussion here on weather it is ethical or unethical is also working favorably to Coca Cola.

    Lets look at traditional off line world, you have celebrity endorsement that we are enamored about. Do the celebrity endorsing like the product thy endorse, you know why they endorse …..

    Same is the case with social media, much we want to keep it neutral and voice of the people, there will be colored views that will be circulated. The power of the powerful should we say ….



  7. John Says:

    The bloggers shouldn’t accept advertising. The stars of sport either! They should do sport for the sake of sport! Run after the ball just because it’s fun to run after a ball! Ronaldo should say no to Nike! Formula 1 cars shouldn’t get any logos! Logos and advertising should be banned of planet earth!

  8. John Says:

    and media, why are they accepting advertisings?? medias should be there just for the noble goal of giving us news, why are we having ads in our newspapers? and why are they cutting our favorites tv programs? and why the advertising spots when we go to the movie theater? and why movies themselves are accepting brands like the James Bond etc? and movie stars, why are they accepting brands (top designers, jewelry etc)..

    we should start


  9. Atul Says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with Coca cola trying to influence bloggers’ views. That’s their business.

    I think it’s up to bloggers if they want to review (whether positive or negative) the product.

    While some bloggers may get their views colored (in order to accept advertising or any other form of compensation), i think in the free market that internet provides, they will eventually be rewarded by the readership.

  10. Nikki Pilkington Says:

    Bloggers accepting products for review in return for advertising on their blogs (in whatever shape or form) is no different to bloggers carry affiliate links and Adsense – and no-one moans about that.

    In most cases the people carrying affiliate links haven’t even tested the products they are advertising – blogging after testing something is far more ethical to my mind.

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