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Promotional marketing masterclass: Coca Cola

Some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Nintendo and the Star Wars franchise, have rocketed to the top simply by focusing all of their efforts on the application of branding and merchandising, and in this new series of ‘promotional marketing masterclasses’ by Stay Sourced, we’re going to be examining in detail just why this strategy works. Where better place to start, than by taking a look at one of the most successful brands to date? Coca Cola…

Humble origins

It started with a recipe, concocted in the 1880s by an unassuming man by the name of John Pemberton. Even when the Coca Cola brand was incorporated in 1888, the founders were hot on the importance of promotion. During the first year of production, thousands of coupons were distributed across America entitling the holders to one free glass of Coca Cola - a promotional method favoured and still widely used today. This method helped raise brand awareness at a time when the term didn’t even exist, and by the turn of the century, coupons had been redeemed across the nation in their millions.

Iconic status

Clearly, Coca Cola was way ahead of its time with its clear understanding of branding, advertising and merchandising. Appearing on a billboard for the first time in 1894, it was the presence of the iconic logo on such advertisements that helped Coca Cola achieve worldwide acknowledgment. Branded mirrors began to appear in pharmacies and barbers shops throughout the South and it was such subtle advertisements that lead to Coca Cola becoming part of their culture, of which they were proud. The brand, of course, was careful to incorporate this ideology into its marketing strategies.

Pushing the boundaries

The turn of the 20th Century and the arrival of commercialisation transformed the American landscape, and Coca Cola evolved with it, pressing on with aggressive marketing campaigns and wholesale promotional merchandising. The logo continued to appear in all manner of forms, on baseball caps, t-shirts, billboards, blimps and anything else with enough room to bear the print. It had become absolutely an American trademark, but it wasn’t without mistake along the way. The brand attempted to change their recipe with the release of ‘New Coke’ in 1985 which backfired aggressively. Needless to say, it didn’t progress any further.

The popularity and significance of the Coca Cola brand is not great by chance. Its level of brand loyalty and success is due to a relentless, clever team of marketers that see the incredible importance of prioritising promotional marketing and the effect original merchandising can have of on a brand. What do you think makes Coca Cola’s marketing so effective? Let us know in the comments below.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Norris .

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