Coca-Cola Blends Sports, Music and Crowdsourcing at Olympics
Coke’s activation of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London was a global campaign that began with live crowdsourcing, continued with one of the biggest-ever customized music tie-ins and became one of the largest examples of sports and entertainment fusion. There were full-time social media amplification and global retail elements before and during the Games, and on site in London, Coke unveiled a brand pavilion that will forever change how this industry uses temporary architecture. To strike a chord with consumers all over the world, Coke anchored its activation in the language of music, ultimately powering a global sports activation with a music platform.
For the campaign, dubbed Move to the Beat, Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Ronson created an exclusive Olympic anthem called “Anywhere in the World” that became the foundation of Coke’s activation—it was played along the Olympic Torch Relay, downloaded around the world via the web and Coke apps and played on extensive above-the-line media flights.
Coke let consumers select the 1,500 Olympic torchbearers—tens of thousands nominated and voted online for inspirational youths they deemed deserving of the honor. The move turned the 70-day Olympic Torch Relay into a crowdsourced traveling experience amplified by 61 concerts and five full-market metro events in the U.K.
A PAVILION UNLIKE ANY OTHER
Coke also crowdsourced designs for its brand pavilion in London’s Olympic Park. A list of 20 up-and-coming architects yielded Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrsted (both under 35 years old), who designed the Beatbox—a branded experience that interacted with consumers and that consumers could interact with right back. It turned out to be quite the spectacle, with architecture that many considered as interesting as that of the actual Olympic venues. The giant facade was made up of 230 ETFE plastic cushions, with embedded sensors and speakers cranking “Anywhere in the World,” turning the entire exterior of the Beatbox into a customizable mixing station where consumers could change the song as they engaged the overall experience.
The Beatbox incorporated a rooftop deck with killer views of Olympic Park, photo activation stations, a glowing nightclub-esque hallway in which sampling bars popped out of the walls, and a party venue on the ground level, where brand ambassadors sang, consumers danced and samples were served—and no exterior branding or LED screens. The lines to get in kept moving, but waits reached 90 minutes, and Coke dedicated a dozen brand ambassadors to entertaining the crowd and keep consumers happy.
Coke found strategic ways to include its Powerade brand in the sponsorship as well. The energy drink used the Games to connect with Olympic athletes with the Cube, a large living room/game room/hangout lounge inside the Athletes’ Village. The visual anchor of the brand’s area was a faux British pub that served Coke products. Athletes could participate in several experiences by using their unique athlete identification number to register on computers or tablets throughout the Cube. Then, they could sign up to receive free Powerade Pro sports hydration powder or create their own customized Powerade water bottle.
Sports scientists recruited by Powerade discussed the merits of proper hydration with athletes, and a large touch-based hydration calculator and several other monitors offered up hydration information. Athletes could sign up for a 30-minute session in the Coke Beat Lab, where a music producer helped them record their own version of “Anywhere in the World.” (Audio was emailed to them and posted to social media later in the day.)
The live experiences were mirrored online at Coke’s Olympic website, where consumers could mix their own version of the song and share it to Facebook, upload videos, download Olympic updates to their mobile devices and learn about Coke, its athletes, its programming and more.
Sales lifts were measured as high as 270 percent along the Torch Relay route, and more than 1.25 million samples were served throughout the full activation. More than 150,000 attendees went through the Beatbox, where they spent in excess of an hour—and more than three million Olympic Park visitors saw the pavilion. Some 82 percent of attendees said Coca-Cola helped to make their Olympic experience a once-in-a-lifetime memory.