How Coca-Cola’s Marketing Sells 1.9 Billion Servings A Day



From 9 bottles a day in 1892 to 1.9 billion today, the carbonated drink maker grew from a small pharmacy in Atlanta, USA into one of the largest and most valuable non-technological companies in the world, which owns more than half of the world’s market share of carbonated drinks as well as a respectable market share in the non-carbonated drinks segment.

It is today one of the most recognised companies in the world, which for the past 129 years continues to remain in the subconscious mind of consumers today. Consistent Marketing

Consistent Marketing

Every year for the last decade, Coca-Cola spends about USD4 billion on advertising in a range of marketing tactics tailored to a large number of geographically and culturally diverse markets - regardless of changes in its gross revenue.

As such, despite the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, the company has seen a quarterly growth of half a billion US dollars from December 2020 to March 2021.

This is consistent with other globally recognised and popular brands, which all set aside large marketing budgets that they utilise to build a genuine relationship with their customer-base. More on that later.

This long-term commitment to marketing combined with high product quality and prevalent brand presence has solidified itself in the subconscious of a large number of people. Some sources claim that 94 percent of the world’s population recognise the brand’s logo to some degree.

Emphasising Human Connections Over Products

But most importantly, Coca-Cola’s success largely revolves around advertising focusing on positive feelings like happiness, luxury, friendship, love, and family - rather than promoting the value of their product or boasting about their growth and success.

If you watch a Coca-Cola advert, it is accompanied by scenes of celebration, people having a good time together, or simply following their passions - all with the Coca-Cola brand in the background. The secret is that this trains our brains to associate their products with positive feelings, including a sense of friendship, family, sharing, and community.

Each campaign is also tailored to the specific geographical and cultural context to make their advertisements far more easily relatable to their target audience.

You will see this same strategy being used by other highly popular brands, including Apple, Google, McDonald’s, and Disney to equally incredible effect.

Instead of promoting its products directly, Coca-Cola’s advertising campaigns focus on positive human emotions, such as happiness, family, friendship, celebrations, and sharing - as well as tailoring their campaigns to specific geographical and cultural context.

—Image via DaxueConsulting

Multi-Channel Marketing

To broaden its market reach, the Coca-Cola company has also expanded outside of the traditional marketing channels of printed ads and TV adverts to include a social media presence as well as unique advertising campaigns.

Though most of the company’s campaigns have been quite successful, its Share Happiness campaign stands out as one of its best, which made use of a limited redesign of the standard Coca-Cola can and bottle that consisted of two halves joined together and could be detached to be shared with another person.

This is accompanied by the relevant visual advertising to set the mood and help customers understand its goals, in which a pilot programme was carried out in Singapore where 30 ‘Share Happiness’ cans were randomly distributed and the reactions of the participants recorded. It was met with spectacular success - and the rest is history.

Coca-Cola’s ‘Share Happiness’ campaign was a smashing success. Originally launched in Australia and its pilot programme in Singapore, ‘Share a Coke’ sold 250,000,000 bottles in Australia and raised sales by 11% in the US.

—Image via CampaignBriefAsia.

The most successful of its series of its ‘Share Happiness’ campaigns is probably ‘Deep Branding’ - a tactic carried through Project Connect that replaced the Coca-Cola branding logo with 150 most popular names shared by about 42 percent of Australians.

Sparked by unaffiliated celebrities buying bottles and sharing them on their social media accounts, this led to an unprecedented reaction and coverage - and in 3 summer months sold more than 250,000,000 bottles in a nation of 23,000,000 people.

The success of Project Connect in Australia was emulated throughout 70 countries around the world, and was expanded to include 70,000 names as well as highly common nicknames like ‘mom’, ‘dad’ and ‘mate’ to appeal to an even larger base audience. It successfully capitalised on the growing global trend for personal expression by engaging with their audience in ways that were meaningful to them.

Corporate Responsibility

In line with its emphasis on human connections, Coca-Cola puts considerable effort into building its reputation as a responsible company - and the evidence shows that consumers overwhelmingly favor buying from good companies over ones that break the social contract.

As such, it has taken the lead in treating and reusing its water to promote greener manufacturing processes and supplying 13.5 million people around the world with clean water since 2010.

It has taken initiatives to address its customer’s concerns with obesity and has reduced the sugar content in its products while offering more low-sugar choices. In 2015, it announced that it was making bottles entirely out of plant-based materials, including sugar cane.

It also actively pursued its World Without Waste campaign to reduce its use of plastics from non-renewable sources and has plans to increase company diversity starting by balancing women representation in leadership roles to 50 percent women and maintaining a workforce composition that reflects the racial and ethic demographic of the regions they are operating in.

In line with its strategy on focusing on positivity, Coca-Cola devotes significant resources on its Corporate Social Responsibility actions, with its water conservation campaign probably having the most significant impact.

—Image via The University of Washington.

Comprehensive Marketing

Though its marketing campaign plays a major part of its success, the Coca-Cola brand’s overwhelming success is helped by its highly deliberate marketing planning and experimentation made possible by its high budget allocation. Although its advertising is based heavily on innovation and new ideas, they do so with sound adherence to what has worked before - and any deviance is made only after an evaluation of the pros and cons of that decision.

From the iconic red logo (which was chosen because of its natural association with energy, excitement and passion), catchy tune that accompanies it at the end of every advertisement, to mass marketing that has put their logo in virtually every shop, convenience store, and restaurant, Coca-Cola’s attention to detailed strategies combined with its innovative, imaginative and fun-filled advertising are the reasons why this well-loved brand has been able to capture the imagination of a world-wide audience that remains loyal to it to this day.