February 14. Just another day if you’re single. And Coca-Cola lets you know it with their recent marketing campaign.
The ad features an interactive wall and virtual vending machine that appears only for couples walking by. After some cute animations, the couples receive personalized Coke cans with their names on them.
This campaign visually illustrates how ads target specific audiences and excludes others. Coca-Cola’s brand is based heavily on the idea of making people happy (i.e. “Open Happiness” is their tagline). However, this ad makes it seem that this happiness is not something that everyone is deserving of. Many single people may be put off by this ad, especially around Valentine’s Day, when they are already bombarded with images of happy couples.
This is not the first time Coca-Cola has used special vending machines for Valentine’s Day ad campaigns. In 2012, they placed a vending machine in a mall and encouraged people to prove their love of each other by kissing, hugging, and even dancing. They were rewarded with a free Coke for showing their affections.
Although these guerrilla marketing campaigns seem to be very targeted, they connect and engage with the specific audience for Valentine’s Day, couples. Even though this ad could have made some singles angry, the reactions they received from audiences for their out-of-the-box campaign strategies may be worth the risk.
So, if you were left staring at the wall, would your opinion of Coca-Cola change?
– Nick Bolick, Olivia Sadler & Patrick Wagner