Coca-Cola wanted to broaden its appeal as a beverage suited to Chinese cuisine. The brand set out to give young consumers reasons to believe that Coke would complement their meals. The strategy, developed by Starcom, was to position the brand as a key ingredient in adding fun to meal occasions. A further aim was to encourage both consumers and food outlets to see the value in the 'Coca-Cola served here' proposition.
Starcom China created a unique primetime competition-cum-food travelogue game-show with a leading national channel. In line with the brand's proposition, the series spoke to youths in an irreverent tone. Two teams, led by celebrities, but composed of real consumers recruited through the i-Coke website, competed across China looking for great food in 'Coke served here' restaurants. The 'Coca-Cola: enjoying food around China' series embedded the Coca-Cola brand throughout, with product placement in eating situations, innovative branding and most importantly, a starring role in how competitors received clues to overcome game challenges. The restaurants were the stars of the programme and were featured on the contestants' 'Game map'. The map was available online on i-Coke and top Chinese foodie sites. Consumers voted and suggested favourite restaurants and submitted recipes. At the series' end, a restaurant guidebook was produced and distributed through key outlets.
Having previously had no recognition in China, the 'Coke with food' concept shot up to 81per cent awareness. Volume in target outlets increased by 56 per cent.
This article was originally published as part of the 2010 Top 1000 Brands report.