Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coca-Cola Misfires: A Classic Case of Do Your Home Work

Who doesn't love the NCAA and a little March Madness. So many brands see it as a way to capture a new or their supreme target audience. In this particular instance, Coca-Cola took their stunt a little too far for New Orleans. Whether it was a matter of lack of homework, or thinking they could get away with it...unfortunately it backfired and left the mega brand back pedaling. A place you don't want to be when you spend money on a campaign.

Supposed to be a Guerrilla Marketing stunt, Coca-Cola employed an ad agency to work on their campaign. The ad agency hired graffiti artists to stencil and paint red logo and taglines on sidewalks and public surfaces throughout the city of New Orleans. Little did anyone involved in the campaign know, but the graffiti violated a number of city ordinances, including the baring of posted or painted advertisements on any street, sidewalk, trees, public building etc.

City officials ordered Coca-Cola to remove the campaign with power washing by last Friday afternoon. Not only was the city upset, residents were too. A large number of residents expressed outrage at the idea that the brand defaced their city. One of the ugly parts of this story is that Coca-Cola takes no responsibility for the campaign - and blames it all on their ad agency. Saying the agency exceeded their directions.

It's sad because, you know that if the campaign had been a hit, Coca-Cola would have taken all the credit for it. Ever seen a brand side marketer let an agency take full control over a project with out approvals? No? Me neither.

My thoughts on this are simple:

1. Do your homework. Know what you can and can't do, and make sure you weigh your options. New Orleans is place still trying to rebuild itself after Katrina. Do you really want to be the brand that defaces the city?

2. Work closely with your agencies. Make sure that you work as a close team. No surprises. Your agency and in-house marketing, PR and advertising departments should be extensions of one another.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Via: Inhabitat and V3