Coke Knows Branded Products Work
As reported in the NY Times, Coca Cola has expanded their use of branded products. Last week saw the launch of a big new campaign. December has always been a big time for Coke advertising, ever since they began incorporating images of Santa Claus in the 1920's. The connection has been so strong that Coke's ads have molded the common public perception of Saint Nick's appearance. (You can learn more about that on their site.) But make no mistake, the purpose of this positive association is to sell more Coke products.
In a partnership with Home Shopping Network, Coke is offering over 275 branded products. Many of these products are already familiar in the retail market, from their own stores in major cities, to mass merchants like Target, to online sites like Amazon. Prices range from $12.95 for a wall-mounted bottle opener to $1200 for a vintage refrigerated cooler. Goods cover a broad assortment of categories like accessories, apparel, home décor, kitchen items and sporting goods. The brand has a caché all its own, bringing it buyers of all generations.
The partnership with Home Shopping Network works both ways - they will promote each other. Stuart Kronauge, senior vice president for Coca-Cola trademark marketing, was drawn to the “unique HSN ability to tell stories” about the products it sells.
The retail sale of branded products is an extension of the traditional function of promotional products. They are typically given away as part of a promotional strategy, in return for, or in hopes of, some action by the consumer. As these products are use (or worn, as in the case of a T-shirt), the brand message is seen by many others. Once a business has built a strong brand, consumers are willing to buy branded products. All kinds of businesses take this path, from golf pro shops to Planet Hollywood.
Coke has learned the power in promotional products. They are successful for five reasons -
- They are targeted. A promotional product goes only where you want it to go. Compare that to a radio or newspaper ad which often hits everyone except its target audience
- They are a long-term advertising value. They continue to promote your brand for years after they're first distributed.
- The medium becomes the message. They create an association that is a memory hook.
- What other form of advertising brings a response of “thank you”?
- Every time someone uses the product, an endorsement of your company is implied.