Coke Zero – Unlock the 007 in You
As part of its promotions for the newest James Bond movie Skyfall, Coke Zero challenged unsuspecting passengers at a train station in Belgium to unlock the 007 in them and complete a mission in 70 seconds.
The mission began at a Coke vending machine and directed participants to race to Platform 6 to win free tickets to the launch of Skyfall. Participants evaded obstacles such as an old lady with dogs, a spilled cart of oranges and an attractive ex-girlfriend. Upon reaching the second vending machine at Platform 6, participants had to sing the James Bond anthem to successfully complete the mission.
Extremely positive response
70 people attempted the mission and a video showing the successful attempts was published a week before the UK launch of Skyfall. The video immediately went viral with 5.3 million views and 44,692 likes in just 7 days and widespread positive coverage on blogs and social media.
This headline from Jim Edwards, senior editor at BusinessInsider.com, sums up the response quite well:
“This Coke Ad, In Which Ordinary Folks Are Suddenly Forced Into A 007 Foot Chase, Is Utterly Charming.”
Taps into men’s desire to be James Bond
Bloggers and marketers pointed out the campaign was received well because it centers on a strong insight – that every man desires to be a secret agent – and brings the desire to life.
As marketer Christien Smeja tweeted:
Experience matters more than free tickets
Indeed, bloggers and viewers noted that they would love to participate not for the chance to win free tickets (only € 8-10 each), but to experience the thrill of being a secret agent, if only for 70 seconds.
As Marieke Brinks commented on Facebook:
“I want to do this!!! This is great and really fun even without the tickets.”
Right amount of humor and action
Bloggers also attributed the success of the video to tone and story told – the video contains the right amount of humor to engage online audiences and the right amount of action to delight James Bond fans.
As a blogger in the UK pointed out:
“In anticipation of the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, Coke Zero have conceived this awesome public stunt that ties in beautifully with the film, while adding enough humour and action to create a compelling video that is sure to rocket up the viral charts. Unlock the 007 in you puts Coca Cola customers through their paces and rewards them for a 70 second dash through a Belgium train station dodging deliberately clichéd obstacles such as dogs, fruit stalls and workmen carrying panes of glass.”
“I wish I was there!”
While the campaign created a great experience for people at the event and attracted millions of viewers online, it leaves too many people wishing the event would come to their city and happen to them.
Indeed, 71 people agreed with the sentiment shared by YouTube user MrJesussaves777:
“I sit here broken hearted because I know nothing as cool as this will ever happen to me.”
Many more left messages on Facebook asking Coke Zero to bring the campaign to their home country. But several people also noted that it would be impractical for Coke Zero to repeat the campaign at a widespread level for fear of people getting hurt while completing the mission and then suing Coca Cola.
Authentic? Staged? Does it matter?
Legal liabilities were among the top reasons some people, like YouTube user tropicalscot, believed the campaign was staged:
“Definitely staged… the health and safety implications of random members of the public running through barking dogs and rolling oranges would have been too much. Also they’re all too good looking and clean cut to be real!”
Some, like Alex, believed it was real and criticized Coke Zero’s editing choices:
“It would be great to see some of the outtakes or ‘wrong bits’ in a follow up. Also, isn’t it the point that the ‘non-photogenic’ get to become bond for a moment?”
Others, like YouTube user metalfender88 enjoyed the video so much, that they felt the controversy didn’t matter:
“Real or fake I don’t care, I found it very funny! It’s one of the best advertising I have ever saw (sic)”
As people diverted their attention away from the video to debate the authenticity of the event and criticize Coke Zero’s editorial choices, blogger Anna Richardson Taylor noted the need for brands to choose authenticity over perfection:
“In the days where authenticity in brand communication is everything – as consumers quickly point out the fakes on social media – ad agencies might have to start throwing in a few imperfections to convince the viewing public.”
Not for women?
While a few people criticized the lack of women participants, others, like YouTube user 11Buzzy11 quickly pointed out that it would be impractical to expect women to participate:
“…MAYBE, no women were gullible enough to go ripping through a train station on a whim with the potential prize of some movie tickets. Plus, doing that in high heels would be incredibly challenging.”
Some, like blogger Maisie Benson, noted that Coke Zero was targeting men with its campaign, and not women:
“Coke Zero tends to target a male audience and so this campaign urging commuters to unlock the 007 within them fits right into their brand strategy.”
Coke’s commitment to storytelling
Blogger Joseph Pedro highlighted the challenge brands face as the online space grows increasingly cluttered, and applauded Coke Zero’s success on breaking through the clutter:
“OK, we’ve all watched in amusement for the past couple of years as companies worked hard to figure out how to reach consumers through everything from flash mobs to webisodes. We admit we became quite jaded toward the whole thing after a while. So, when we saw that Coke Zero and the new James Bond flick Skyfall were in viral-video bed together we loaded it up with hesitation. Thankfully, it is kind of awesome.”
Govind, National Creative Director at MSLGROUP Creative+ and member of the MSLGROUP Insights Network attributed Coke Zero’s success to its long term commitment to storytelling:
“Coke keeps coming with these interesting engagement ideas all the time. This is a matter of being committed to this strategy of storytelling. Can’t happen just by chance.”
Bringing the story to life online
MMedina, a reader at SocialTimes.com, pointed out the opportunity for Coke Zero to recreate the Unlock the 007 in You experience online:
“This is a genius engagement idea! I’m thinking, how can we take this type of fun and bring it into on-line social?”
Indeed, Coke Zero empowers people to achieve their dream of becoming James Bond online as well, through a series of daily challenges. In the run up to the UK launch of Skyfall in October 2012, Coke Zero posted daily assignments for “Coke Zero Agents” at the Coke Zone and on Twitter using #CokeZero007. Agents used their secret agent talents to decipher clues and win prizes.
Staying true to brand values
By creating a real mission for everyday people and enabling them to play the role of James Bond, Coke Zero stays true to both, the spirit of James Bond and also to its brand position: Make it Possible.
As Nidhi Makhija, member of the MSLGROUP Insights Network, commented:
“With “Unlock the 007 in You” Coke Zero gives everyday people (and James Bond fans) exactly what they wanted – the chance to face obstacles and become James Bond for 70 seconds. The campaign connects very well to Coke Zero’s brand positioning “make it possible.”
Zoe Howorth, marketing director for Coca-Cola Great Britain, too pointed out the connection between James Bond and the Coke Zero brand tagline:
“Skyfall is without a doubt one of this year’s most anticipated film releases, and we are very excited to be a part of it and to continue our relationship with the world’s favourite movie franchise.
James Bond is a global cultural icon who consistently takes action to create what’s possible, making this the perfect partnership for Coca-Cola Zero.”
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