At this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity, Coca-Cola Latin America launched the Coca-Cola Innovation Lab – a new mechanism for engaging creative and production partners in the region. Latin America advertising director, Guido Rosales tells us about putting on Paul McCartney concerts in Mexico, “democratising” the internet and how his team has confronted social and economic difficulties in South America.
Image: Guido Rosales, advertising director, Coca-Cola Latin America
What is the “Innovation Lab” model?
At Coca-Cola Latin America, we’re not focused only on taking the traditional approach with a brief, concept phase and campaign launch that checks off required media boxes. We want to position Coca-Cola as a leading edge company and to do this we are creating a lot of work through our Innovation Lab model; our new philosophy of working among the marketing teams, our agencies and our technical partners.
It is about working without a brief, trusting that our partners know enough about our brands to develop powerful work, and keeping some seeding money aside and believing that ideas will come. It is also about speed in decision-making and - above all - maintaining a high level of mutual respect when it comes to judging ideas.
Our most current work is with our Streaming platform. We launched Coca-Cola Streaming, a proprietary online communication network in the Latin America region that provides free content aimed at the young, tech-savvy generation. We’ve gone live with Coca-Cola.TV, Coca-Cola.FM and are working towards the launch of Project Wired.
Tell us about “Project Wired”
It is an initiative that aims to put a WiFi router at every cooler, at every Coca-Cola point of sale in Latin America, democratising the internet access among youth. The project is currently launching as a pilot in select locations in Mexico City, with plans for expansion to 150 locations by the end of 2012 with eventual implementation in Brazil and beyond. Coca-Cola Latin America’s mission is to spread happiness and utility to many young people who do not have access to costly internet access.
What type of thing can we expect on Coca-Cola.TV?
It is a 24/7 online video streaming service that goes beyond film to combine real world entertainment with the ability to distribute and support live broadcasts in social and mobile experience. The channel features content created by Coca?Cola, as well as third party and user-generated content that aligns with the organisation’s brand values of optimism and living positively.
Coca-Cola.TV is currently live in Mexico, where it’s been hugely successful. Paul McCartney gave a free outdoor concert in Mexico City’s central plaza to a record crowd of an estimated 200,000 people. Coca-Cola.TV live streamed the three-hour event to millions throughout Mexico, with users spending an average of 42 minutes viewing and contributing to the social conversation via Facebook and Twitter.
And its Coca?Cola.FM counterpart?
Coca-Cola.FM goes beyond traditional internet radio; it’s a social and engaging experience for the audience. With an online and mobile player, it provides premium programming 24/7, with a dedicated team of DJs, anchors and studios. Local agencies throughout Latin America help create relevant content and programming for each specific market.
Young people can produce their own mixed music with innovative radio tools, share music, and choose among a wide variety of recorded and live programming. The format allows listeners to customize stations in addition to providing access to relevant content presented in a variety of audio formats. The Coca-Cola.FM player allows users to share and embed Coca-Cola.FM everywhere, and also offers a CCFM Widget, which includes customizable features and online sharing on social media.
Coca-Cola.FM is currently live in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.
What approach does Coca-Cola take in the Latin America region?
We work as one integrated team across 35 countries and our agencies are part of the team. We have clear roles and responsibilities among the different team members. The decision-making process is transparent, fast and we delegate as low as we can in the organisation.
Our quality standards are high. We generate greater output faster, and with significantly less resources and rework than the average marketing department. We also work with a horizon of 24-month stock of marketing materials. This gives us time to think and to dedicate resources to innovation.
How does your team approach digital campaigns?
We don't approach campaigns thinking in one consumer touch point. We first think in ‘Liquid Ideas’ that are not contained and can be spread across all consumer touch points. But everything we do starts with a point of view. A set of "marketing beliefs.”
We believe marketing is about making people fall in love with your brand. We create powerful stories driven by human values that move people. When a story is well-crafted, it hits you in the heart. And when these stories reach people, they produce emotional attachment. This translates into brand preference and ability to command a premium price (what we call value generation).
This is the way we say "yes" (or "no") to an idea. It is simple. But not everybody has the ability to produce great stories or the knowledge to judge those ideas (no big difference from the process that takes place in fashion or art craft).
What aspects of South American life do your campaigns take inspiration from?
I think marketers in Latin America have learned to be more innovative and flexible as the result of the many difficulties that we have confronted in the past: social economic crises, consumption downfalls, market instability, etc.
In order to survive we started doing more with less. We developed an instinct that enables us to see positive opportunities even during moments of crisis. We have adapted quickly to fluctuating markets conditions, and we brought creative solutions to an adverse environment.
What agencies have you enjoyed working with?
Our key partners in the region are: Santo, Ogilvy & Mather, JWT, DavidTheAgency, Martin Mercado and McCann. I like to work with them because it is a true partnership, a long-term relationship based on respect, commitment and honesty. We challenge in a positive way all the ideas, as we call the “divine disconformity”.
What the best piece of creative work to come out of Coca-Cola Latin America?
Our recent “Security Cameras” spot is such a unique, simple and authentic piece of work. A simple idea: “watching the world with other eyes”, showing how awesome humans beings are. It was so impactful that even before airing the campaign on TV we had millions of views on YouTube and we have created a huge conversation behind this idea.
In terms of our greatest advertising achievement - the thing we are most proud of in is not a "campaign.” It is the way we work in Latin America to produce high quality marketing.
What Coca-Cola campaign from outside Latin America did you think was great advertising?
For me, “Coke Hands” from Ogilvy & Mather China was an amazing Out of Home piece - simple, innocent, impactful and genuine for Coke. The other one I like is “Project Re-Brief” (Google and Coca-Cola). How we can share a Coke with the world in 2012? Only Coke can do that.
What will be the next big thing in the world of advertising?
For me, it will be the multi-screen integration, and Consumer Experiential Marketing.
Video: Coca-Cola, "Security Cameras" by Coca-Cola Latin America and Landia, Buenos Aires.
About Coca-Cola Latin America...
Coca-Cola Latin America operates in a region that includes 39 countries with seven official languages. With 579 MM inhabitants, there are 37% under the age of 20, which makes connecting with the youth market a key focus. Coca-Cola has nearly 150 active brands with nearly 800 products, with the Latin America Group managing one of the most intricate packaging portfolios. Over the last ten years, Coca-Cola Latin America has grown ahead of the industry overall in each and every category.