Coke Zero: This Commercial is NOT Drinkable

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 11.46.19 AMIf you’re like me, you’re still coping with the end of March Madness, but happily traded in college basketball for the season premier of Mad Men this past Sunday.

As I often do while watching high profile TV shows and sporting events, I was paying close attention to the commercials during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals. I love seeing new and innovative ads that normally surface at these times. What stood out the most for me was Coke Zero’s “drinkable commercial.” At first glance, another home run from Coca-Cola. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, a sultry and seductive 30 second spot shows a hand pouring a bottle of Coke Zero off screen. I as the consumer am supposed to get my Shazam app up to recognize the commercial, taking me to an experience of a glass getting filled with Coke Zero, eventually leading me to a mobile coupon to redeem a free Coke Zero at Target.

Sounds cool right? I thought so at first as well.

When you think of the experience however, there are a lot of hurdles and hoops to go through. To start, you have to open your Shazam app. What if I don’t have Shazam downloaded to my mobile device? What if I don’t want to navigate to the app or I’m in a rowdy apartment crammed with a bunch of 20 to 30 something year olds that are more concerned with their next beer and louder than the TV? You’ve already blocked me out from participating and getting the chance to receive the coupon. I’m turned off, then again I’m never one to hail the use of apps in campaigns.

During the game I didn’t go through the experience, but the next day I decided to investigate and found myself being bounced from the Shazam app, to mobile web, to my SMS inbox, back to mobile web just to receive the coupon. By the time the experience was through I was dizzy and needed to figure out just where I was. Now I get it, Coke has my phone number (only after entering it in mobile web) and information and they’ve got me in their database. They’ll be able shoot me a text message whenever the next big promotion comes out. Bravo. Why not just start the process from the SMS and eliminate Shazam though? This would reduce unnecessary steps, making my experience linear and as smooth as the act of drinking a cold Coke Zero.

Everyone texts, and everyone has their phone on them while watching the game, regardless of location. By making the initial mobile call to action a text to a short code and a bounce back link to the video, you’ve made the experience seamless. No bouncing between apps, inbox and mobile web. Simply text in, click the link leading to mobile web, watch the video and receive your coupon. Consumers want simple mobile experiences, especially Millennials. Too many steps back and forth frustrates them and causes them to leave the experience in an instant.

Personally, I also thought Coca-Cola would have put a bit more effort into the post “drink” experience. Add a Target store locator for example. Give people an idea of where they can find the nearest Target, giving them more incentive to go redeem that coupon. Another way to make sure that your audience gets to the store to redeem the coupon? A countdown feature. For example, Life in Mobile uses a patented Race to Retail feature which displays a countdown timer on the consumers phone. If a consumer gets to the location and redeems their coupon before time runs out, they get added perks. In this case maybe two free Coke Zero’s instead of one. Not only that, but the Race to Retail will give you turn by turn directions to the closest participating location. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

All in all, great idea from Coke, can’t take anything away from them. This is a great step in linking traditional advertising methods into the mobile first mindset that brands need to continue to evolve with. Are there ways to make this particular campaign simpler and ensure users redeem their coupon? Of course. Are we heading in the right direction? Most definitely.