Magazine article Marketing

Can Coke and IPG Truly 'Think Local'?

Magazine article Marketing

Can Coke and IPG Truly 'Think Local'?

Article excerpt

Coca-Cola has hired advertising and marketing services group Interpublic (IPG) to develop a global ad and communications strategy for its flagship brand, in a deal worth $lbn.

The move, part of Coke's ongoing advertising and marketing rethink under chief executive Doug Daft, is designed to establish a consistent overall message for the brand across the 200 countries it sells in. But while this approach may be similar to that of countless other global brands, it comes at the same time as Coke is preparing to tailor its marketing campaigns to local markets.

As such, the move will prompt speculation that the soft drinks giant is ultimately shying away from taking a fully localised approach to marketing. So, how will the two strategies sit together?

Coke says Interpublic will act as a creative consultant, generating ideas at a global level which can then be translated by local marketers as part of Coke's 'Think local,act local' strategy.

IPG, which includes the McCann Erickson World-Group, The Lowe Group, DraftWorldwide, Initiative Media Worldwide, Octagon Sports Marketing and the Allied Communications Group, will form a 'marketing communications advisory council' with Coke marketers.

From next year this council will work across all media, including online, sponsorship and in-store, to determine how best to communicate the brand in local markets. It will not create any advertising work for Coca-Cola, and nor, claims Coke, will it affect Coke's local strategies. Local Coke marketing teams will decide how these communication blueprints should be executed in their marketplace.

Local strategies

Andrew Coker, communications director for Coca-Cola GB, said: "It in no way inhibits local strategies. Each country can still appoint local agencies to implement the brand message devised by Interpublic. This is not a return to the control days of Atlanta."

Instead, Coke claims the initiative is designed to deter brand inconsistency and provide local agencies with a single brand message on which to base their communications. Stephen C. Jones, chief marketing officer, The Coca-Cola Company, says: "Interpublic will enable our marketers around the world to take the core messages about brand Coca-Cola and ensure their relevance to consumers at the local level. …

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