How often has a commercial of a pizza or a beverage made you order in?

Translating an activation into a purchase is considered the greatest success of a marketing effort. With the ever-changing marketing landscape, brands are forced to adopt new means to engage with their customers.

Since the launch of Coke Zero 11 years ago, Coca-Cola did not put much effort into its marketing tactics for the no-calorie soda. Trials via sampling was the only tactic used.

With the “first-of-its-kind-drinkable marketing campaign,” the brand took on a radically new route. The campaign launch coincided with Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of March Madness of the NCAA Men’s 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis. The launch was supplemented with a 26×36 feet drinkable billboard. The billboard poured out ice-cold soda into six drinking fountains for customers at the sampling station.

coke zero drinkable advertising

Taking it digital, a drinkable Coke Zero commercial in partnership with Shazam was launched for Coke’s fans outside Indianapolis. Famous ESPN personalities such as Lee Corso asked viewers open the Shazam app on their phone and hold it near the ad. The Coke Zero being poured on TV appeared to be poured into the user’s smartphone. The user was then given a redeemable coupon for a 20-ounce bottle.

Other elements of the campaign included:

  1. Drinkable Stadium Boards: Video content was played live in the stadium. Viewers received a redeemable coupon for a 20-ounce bottle on their mobile.
  2. Drinkable Flyers: Flyers with a straw and a redeemable coupon were distributed.
  3. Vending Machine Mascots: All across Indianapolis, people dressed in Coke Zero costumes approached passerby’s and rewarded them with free Coke Zero’s.

The approached tried to bring traditional sampling into the digital world. The campaign was created to drive awareness about Coke Zero. Coca-Cola helped the consumer experience a physical product which they otherwise might not have.

In the second quarter following the Final Four, Coke Zero global sales volume were up by 6%, following a 5% growth in the first quarter. Coke’s adoption of this approach is indicative that experimenting with digital interactive campaigns can have a tremendous positive effect for brands.

Coke’s drinkable advertisement proved to be a truly innovative approach in removing barriers and established a new touch point for direct out-of-home advertising.