Monday, 18 October 2010

Coca-Cola, Creativity and Lessons

I attended a cracking event last week at Manchester Metropolitan University. Dr Jonathan Mildenhall, an MMU graduate now VP for advertising strategy and creative at Coca Cola was talking about using creativity to drive business. What I liked about it - and I must say I was cynical given my views on consumer brands trying to own big emotions such as happiness - was the utter simplicity of the message, a mission statement that was akin to Disney, and the fact that Coca-cola seemed to be living its mission. How refreshing...

Here are some highlights:

The Mission: To refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism and happiness, to make a difference where ever we go.

Key to great creativity and communication

  • Build communication on cultural insights (make your communication inspiring and relevant to whats happening in peoples lives)
  • Focus on a one core creative idea
  • Have conversations and make an emotional connection (laughter, sadness, joy anything relevant just make a connection)
  • Focus on productivity - Bigger, Better, Fewer, Further. Don't do lots of little things and cut corners - take one big idea and make it stretch
  • Assert creative expertise to build excellence where ever you are
  • Evoke emotions don't portray them - Dont show people your version of happiness allow them to download it for themselves
  • Tell stories

Here are a few little examples:

  • The Coca-Cola world cup song 'Wavin' Flag – Coca-Cola Celebration Mix' released in more than 150 markets around the world reached number one on music charts in 17 countries and has moved more than 800,000 download purchases. The video for the single has amassed more than 87 million views on YouTube. The secret was encouraging people to celebrate goals not to buy coca-cola.
  • Live positively: A committment to sustainability. Coca Cola has gone from the least environmentally friendly to a poster child for recylcing in 5 years.
  • Fanta playgrounds: In South America teams will go into rundown playgrounds and redecorate/ rebuild them overnight so that children wake up to a brand new safe playground
  • Coca-cola happiness machine: Worth a look. Simple. True to the mission. Impactful.

Before anyone thinks I have gone mad, my intention is not to big up Coca-Cola, but to highlight that focusing your company mission on something big, something emotional, something with purpose and living it every day can achieve better results than trying to just sell what you do.

So can Cocal-Cola own happines? I was dubious but as Johnathan talked, swigging from his coca-cola bottle, I found myself smiling and wondering where the nearest spa was to open my own bottle of diet-coke happiness.

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