Addressing the Young Lions on day four of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2015, Wendy Clark, president of sparkling brands and strategic marketing at Coca Cola North America, discussed why bravery, belief and being underestimated will act both as a fuel for a career and a brand.
She wanted to convey to the Young Lions what’s critical for them – work and leadership principles.
“It’s a big word. It’s hard to do sometimes. We’ve done some brave work for Coke Zero. It’s a great brand, but it hard being Coke Zero. It’s the child in the Coca Cola family. We worked on the insight that two thirds of the population in the USA hadn’t tasted the product. From the people who tried it, 50 per cent had gone on to have it for a second time. So, we launched the ‘Taste it’ campaign,” she said.
“We partnered with Shazam. People viewing the ad could Shazam the song. A Coke Zero was poured (on the screen), and that could be redeemed in the US. The TVC became the most Shazam-ed ad,” revealed Clark.
She explained why this was brave: “It could have gone wrong in a lot of ways. Apps could have stopped working. Shazam may not have got the response it did.”
She added, “Bravery is resisting the status quo. Status quo could damage the market place. Marketing is dynamic. You can be a better ‘you’, or a worse ‘them’. There’s a reason why you have been hired by your company or were taken by your school.”
Clark also said curiousity and passion were required to be brave. “You have to be curious. You have to ask. There also needs to be passion. I wake up every day before my alarm. I want to be at work.”
While not many people knew that the company is into juices, The Coca Cola Company is the largest juice trading company in the world, she noted.
“The film got 32,000,000 impressions in two weeks. The positioning for the brand is ‘Put good in. Get good out’. We repeated this for Father’s Day. You feel annoyed when you’re underestimated. With lower estimations, you can easily deliver above expectation and raise the bar. If you’re underestimated you can out-work, out-think, out-play, out-run, out-deliver and outperform, what you were expected to do. Take underestimation as a fuel,” she observed.
The third principle Clark spoke about was belief. She explained, “We have an iconic 44 year-old film called Hill Top. It’s one of our most iconic pieces of work. Last year we were approached by Matthew Weiner of Mad Men. He wanted to use the film at the end of his series. He didn’t tell us how it would be used and under what situation it would be used. We had to have the belief in Mad Men. We gave it to them. We didn’t see the ad right till the end. We didn’t think it would be used. It was used right at the end before it moved to the titles.”
She added, “To have your entire ad run in the last 60 seconds of a series like Mad Men, came only because of belief. After the show we only did one tweet. People thought we were asleep and started tweeting to us. But, we respected the audience and viewers from other time zones. We then put up an advertisement with our thought ‘Share a Coke’ at Times Square.”
She surmised, “Belief is coming together in a single way. There’s nothing more powerful for brands and agencies than a shared belief. It’s not about being arrogant. Believe that an idea can come from anywhere. Do brave work. That’s what the world needs.”