Coca-Cola Targets Hispanic Youth with Soccer Tourneys
The Copa Coca-Cola program debuted in Mexico in 1998 as a youth soccer tournament for teens living in 150 small towns. Popularity surged, and the program was expanded to other countries.
The U.S. Copa program began in 2000 with a test in Texas. In 2001, the tournament took shape in New York and Chicago before being expanded into six markets in 2002. The full expansion came in 2003, with Relay aligning Coke with the U.S. Hispanic market via Copa happenings in 12 major markets—all chock full of community-oriented events, media overlays, and retail components. “In 2002, we established the program as a property,” says Relay Hispanic director Paul Stringer. “In 2003, we began to activate it and blow it out.”
The weekend events took place over a Saturday and Sunday in each market, with kids coming out and playing in the multi-tiered, World Cup-style tourneys. Winning boys’ and girls’ teams went on to play in a national Finals held in Los Angeles.
For consumers, the campaign offered something to participate in—for serious soccer fans, in fact, Copa has become one of the places for soccer scouts to find new talent. The events took on festival atmospheres with crowds of more than 1,000 showing up to cheer. Live music played, and award ceremonies took place on a branded stage. For bottlers, the program offered a sellable solution for retailers and a less-controversial way to generate soda sales inside schools (Coke partnered with Scholastic on a cause overlay that sent direct mail communication materials to 1,200 schools). And for Coke, the program tied a fat knot with an important demographic and promoted a healthy lifestyle among youths.
It’s also translated into measurable sales. Bottlers offered the program to retailers, who participated and received namesake teams in return. Retailers bumped Coke in-store support by at least 15-percent in exchange for getting their own teams, and the program ended up pushing sales up an average of 64 percent during the Copa. “Our hope is that [this program] keeps growing and reaching more teens in the years to come,” says Coke marketing spokesperson Maria Perez. Muy bien.