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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.
Recently, Coca-Cola has hired the services of TeleVest, a New York media agency specialized in purchasing television airtime, to select and locate TV series to purchase or sponsor in order to more effectively reach European television viewers. By purchasing programs, Coca-Cola will be able to license them to various markets with contracts stipulating that Coca-Cola receive a certain amount of free ad-time spread across other shows on the station. This strategy seems attractive especially as most international markets have national networks (such as TF1, A2, or FR3 in France) but no local stations. 6
As expected, Coca-Cola has not just a European website, but several websites for certain countries in the EC; the countries offering such sites are France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany, and Norway. Upon examining these various sites, we concluded that they are another example of Coca-Cola's decentralized marketing campaign. Each country's management team has the freedom to market itself the way they want, as long as certain guidelines are followed. In France, the site (www.coca-cola.fr) is presented as a web-zine, offering the latest in music and sports-related news, obviously targeting a young public; In Spain, the site (www.siempre-on.com) offers coupons which you can print out at home, indicating that Coca-Cola reaches a price conscious audience. Denmark's site (www.coca-cola.dk) is primarily a contest site currently featuring trips to Australia. Thus, Coca-Cola customizes its web campaign for each country in order to more effectively tap into people's feelings, integrating any culturally relevant issues or preferences into the sites' presentation.
The following are specific promotional activities that are currently being done in the various countries in the European Union.
Telefonica Interactiva entered into a promotional arrangement with Coca-Cola Espana aimed at boosting Teleline's user base. Telefonica Interactiva, Internet subsidiary of Telefonica, has entered into a promotional arrangement with Coca-Cola Espana aimed at boosting Teleline's user base. Under the deal, people who buy 20 half-litre Coca-Cola bottles will receive a year's Internet access for only Pta4k Vs Pta13k/y on average at present. 7
Coca-Cola launched "Dress-up with Coca-Cola Light" promotion in Spain in co-operation with clothing retailer Cortefiel. A consumer who buys the soft drink at a bar can have a special card marked by the waiter, building up points giving discounts of up to 20% at outlets of Cortefiel's Springfield and Women's Secret chains. The promotion was created by Think for Sale and is supported by an outdoor ad campaign and leaflets. 8
Coca-Cola started "Suma Oros" promotion in Spain with French publisher Hachette. Consumers can trade in coupons from Fanta bottles for subscriptions to Hachette magazines including Elle
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- Coke, Fanta and Sprite were offered a chance to win a "free" ...
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European Union, ISSN,
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several websites, the market, Europe,
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Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coke,
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