Coke Zero ‘Socially’ Surprises Fans


(from Sports Business Journal, October 15, 2012) Coke Zero and Vice President of Sports and Entertainment Marketing for Coca-Cola, Sharon Byers, have found their niche in the growing social media-marketing world. The 2012 fall college football season has led to an untapped territory of marketing for Coca-Cola. The new tactic is the use of social media hookups to surprise college football fans with gifts.

Coca-Cola has been working on growing its social media fan base on networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Now that college football is in full swing, Coke has more than a dozen people from its corporate office constantly monitoring these social media sites. These people are looking for posts from followers who have roughly 500 or more followers themselves, whose posts relate to a passion for the college football scene. Coke then selects lucky fans to receive a “surprise.” These prizes consist of everything from autographs to major game day tickets.

One of Coca-Cola’s many stories from the season thus far is from a Vanderbilt student. He had tweeted that him and a few friends were traveling from Chicago to a Northwest game, but ticketless. Coca-Cola saw this message, and then arranged for four tickets to be sent to the student for the game that weekend.

Coca-Cola is doing this in hopes that the fans will in return market for Coke. The fans will post photos of their new prizes and mention Coke for their network to see.

Giving out prizes is only the beginning of Coke’s new marketing strategy; they have arranged “meet ups” near college stadiums. These meet ups consist of game day give a ways, and opportunities for new Coke Zero fans to sign up and follow Coke’s social networks.