Advertising & Promotion Campaigns of Coca-Cola in the European Union
Coca-Cola, which was named Beverage Industry's 1999 Company of the Year, has embraced a decentralized operating philosophy, recognizing that each market in which they operate has "different demands which must be met in unique ways"1. Coca-Cola Enterprises (The European bottler for Coke) CEO Henry Schimberg has stated that although they have well-defined general policies, much of the responsibility to succeed and make decisions has to come from each local market, not headquarters in Atlanta.2
While it may seem that firms have to choose between the extremes of a global vs. customized approach, in practice the method used is often a combination of both, "blending uniformity with individual area differences".3 Coca-Cola, for instance, has previously had a successful international soccer-star campaign which featured the same common theme, but with a different celebrity athlete for each targeted country. Such pan-European advertising is becoming increasingly popular and common. 4 This strategy has built a strong global brand awareness not only in Europe but throughout the world. Based on this strong brand awareness, Coca-Cola tailors each ad to a specific country to achieve global sales success through local penetration.
Coca-Cola uses a multitude of promotional vehicles to attract new coke drinkers and retain current ones. One of the strongest promotional venues has been through television and sporting events (mainly soccer) but in the nineties the internet is strongly becoming a popular means to increase promotions.
Coke takes a global approach to its sports promotion. In 1997 they established managers for each of the different sports that Coke sponsors worldwide.5 This global coordination effort helps to oversee major marketing campaigns, however it also still allows unique advertising techniques and messages to be conveyed in each country.