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Marketing, Nonprofit

Coke’s Polar Bear Campaign: A Pepsi Inspiration

The new Polar Bear campaign from Coke seems to have touched hearts (and for others just caused a little bit of confusion).  Coke, dedicating resources to the World Wildlife Fund to help protect Polar Bears when people purchase the specially designed white Coke cans.  Here’s the real question: why?

The polar bear campaigns from Coke in years past have always hit during the Christmas holiday season.  Yet, Coke hasn’t used this time to raise money for charity or have they ever changed the color of their ledgendary red cans to white.  So why do it now?  

Is it possible Coke saw the popularity and success of Pepsi’s Refresh Everything campaign?  Is it possible that Coke saw how cause marketing can be used to increase sales, boost customer engagement (especially through social media) and cause a buzz through major media with such a campaign?

Lets compare the two advertising campaigns.

Pepsi Refresh Everything straight from Pepsi 


Coke’s Polar Bear Campaign straight from Coke

  • Its interesting that Coke’s campaign commits to $3 million dollars towards the World Wildlife Fund: Thats $2 million initially and up to $1 million in addition depending on sales.  That’s almost equal to what Pepsi gives out quarterly.  Pepsi commits up to $1.125 million towards social projects each month.
  • Coke has used younger audiences to help give voice to the campaign.  Hence the massive sponsorship and advertising during the AMA’s.  The obvious connection here is between a live event such as the AMA’s and social media, especially Twitter.  Pepsi’s entire campaign thrives on the attention it gets from social media.  Each of Pepsi’s social projects (submitted by Pepsi drinkers) is voted on by their peers via social media channels. Coke is really trying to hit the same marketing channels here.
  • “But wait a minute, Coke has done social driven campaigns before.  Remember Live Positively?”  Nope.  That’s exactly why Coke had to shake some suds in order to grab everyone’s attention this time.  Redesigning the iconic red can was the only way to not only grab peoples attention, but literally freak people out.  Don’t believe me? Check out these randome tweets from people grabbing the new Coke cans:

In summary, I’m not exactly saying that Coke is attempting to capitalize on cause marketing similar to Pepsi. I’m merely just saying.

And just for fun, here’s how people in Bellingham, Washington react when they find out the new Coca-Cola cans aren’t diet but are actually regular Coke.



About natesmoyer

I'm always in over my head. I like uncomfortable moments. Things people forget about excite me. One day I'll work for free.


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