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Coca-Cola reaches out to teens with ‘The Ahh Effect’ campaign

April 24, 2013
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Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. kicked off its newest teen-focused campaign, “The Ahh Effect” with dozens of new digital experiences that create a multi-dimensional feeling of happiness, satisfaction and refreshment that one experiences after drinking a Coke, the company says.

Bringing to life 61 dimensions of “Ahh” through a range of digital experiences including games, films and GIF images, the program showcases all of the qualities of Coke and positions the beverage as the ultimate refresher, it says. The campaign’s 61 URLs are each home to an original experience. Beginning with, each subsequent site includes one more “H” in its URL until reaching the maximum possible amount.

Seventeen experiences went live April 24, all featuring a teen-worthy moment of randomness, creativity and delight that’s best experienced through mobile devices, the company says. The remaining 44 experiences will be populated throughout the life of the campaign. Of these to-be-launched experiences, The Coca-Cola Co. will award 25 of the URLS to teens who submit their own creative interpretations of what “Ahh” means to them. While these user-generated experiences will remain consistent after they launch, the other “Ahh” experiences will be regularly optimized to deliver new and refreshed content throughout the multi-year program, according to the company.

“Digital, social and mobile are re-writing the rules of marketing,” said Pio Schunker, senior vice president of integrated marketing communications for Coca-Cola North America Group, in a statement. “We can no longer have one-way brand-to-fan communications — instead the brand must facilitate true fan experiences to drive engagement. This campaign is the next step in our evolution of Coca-Cola’s marketing innovation.

“The notion erupted in 2012 when the iconic Coke Polar Bears watched the [Super Bowl] with millions of fans from their arctic living room; then millions more logged on to help ‘Gamify’ the big game with the Showgirls, Badlanders and Cowboys earlier this year,” he continued. “Now, we hope ‘The Ahh Effect’ will reach a new generation of Coca-Cola fans using the right content in just the right digital context.”

The experiences offered on every “Ahh” website will engage teens through the kinds of content they find most compelling, the company says. For example, the “Guide the Bubble” game asks teens to navigate a bubble away from rapidly falling ice cubes and straws in a glass filled with Coke. The “Happy Dance” experience features several vignettes of characters — both human and animal — doing funny dance moves to various high-energy musical tracks, the company says.

While some experiences take the shape of light-hearted games, the overall goal of the program is to remind teens of all that Coke has to offer, starting with great taste, the company says. The “Ice Toss” game, for instance, challenges users to launch ice cubes into a moving cup of Coke to keep the beverage at 37 degrees — the ideal temperature for ensuring the maximum “Ahh” effect, it adds.

“’The Ahh Effect’ campaign is an unconventional and bold step for the brand to connect with teens,” said Andy McMillin, vice president of Coca-Cola Trademark for Coca-Cola North America Group, in a statement. “Through these experiences, we’re hoping to create the kind of unique digital journey of discovery that today’s teens crave. Based on our research, we know that teens are harder to reach than ever before. With ‘The Ahh Effect,’ we’re interacting with teens and entertaining them through their own language. The experiences celebrate Coke as the ultimate refresher and remind teens what makes it so special, from the energy and great taste it offers to the optimism and uplift it provides.”

The Coca-Cola Co. also is partnering with popular online destinations like Alloy Digital, Break Media, Vevo and Smosh, which will all be featured on “The Ahh Effect” sites, to drive engagement in the campaign. The company also has designed specific experiences in association with customer partners including “Slurpee Sucker” and “Can Cans” with Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc., “Fry Choir” with Oakbrook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. and “Mobile Ahh Giver” with Minneapolis-based Target Brands Inc.

The Coca-Cola Co. is jump-starting submission for the 25 user-generated websites by connecting directly with creative teens. By reaching out to students at design schools and members of creative communities that focus on music and gaming, the brand is actively encouraging teens to share how Coke makes them feel for the chance to own their own “Ahh” site.

Paid media and Coca-Cola behind-the-label content featuring “Ahh” moments driving fans to various “Ahh” URLs will begin appearing online and in stores on packaging for its 20-ounce and 16-ounce products next month.

The Coca-Cola Co. worked with Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Ore., to create the campaign.

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