Coke Wants to Find Right Place, Right Time for a Pretzel

iphoneredeemnow2Can location-based mobile coupons get consumers hungry for a Coke and a pretzel? A new campaign served by Millennial Media and Sparkfly aims to find out. The mobile ad creative will test different combinations of Auntie Anne’s and Coke items for purchase at 10 Atlanta-area Auntie Anne’s locations.

Consumers who fit the target demographic are served an ad by Millennial Media on their mobile devices. They can click to redeem it immediately or save the offer for later. At the Auntie Anne’s counter, they can redeem the offer by showing the clerk a unique four-digit code. The cashier manually enters the code into the POS system, where Sparkfly’s and Millennial’s combined reporting capabilities let Coke and Auntie Anne’s track campaign results including actual redemptions and views of the ad.

Auntie Anne’s sells soft pretzels, dipping sauces, and Coke products at more than 1,200 locations in 23 countries, making it a good customer of Coca-Cola’s. And Tom Daly, group manager, interactive marketing, Coca-Cola, said that the snack seller is one of its more innovative customers, as well.

“I’m interested in this because it represents a connecting of the dots from awareness building to driving foot traffic to a [Coke] customer to a transaction. That model is super interesting,” Daly said.

Coke’s marketing efforts follow the 70:20:10 model, he explained, with 70 percent of resources devoted to things that have been proven to work, 20 percent toward improving the performance of that 70 percent, and 10 percent toward experimenting.

Coke already had a relationship with Millennial Media and Sparkfly, and Daly sees Auntie Anne’s as one of his company’s more innovative customers. “There’s only a little time you can allocate to that 10 percent, and there are so many things that are possible,” Daly said. “We found a path that was worth putting our time against.”

In a statement, Heather Neary, Auntie Anne’s CMO, said that one of the primary benefits of the partnership is to track an offer from the onset to point of purchase while analyzing the performance of individual display units. Coke, too, will track redemptions, because, according to Daly, that data will help his company in many ways.

“The measure of success may not be exclusively coupon redemptions,” he said. “We are looking at actual ROI but, because of the work I do, we’re trying to understand a few other things. There could be brand love, there could be lifetime value implications.” Moreover, there are operational challenges to launching such a campaign on a wider scale that need to be evaluated.

Coke was an early adopter of mobile. Its recent efforts include a campaign on Foursquare and sponsorship of NCAA basketball March Madness apps on iPhone and iPad. In November 2011, Daly told ClickZ that he wasn’t satisfied with the company’s mobile apps.

Since then, Coca-Cola China’s Chok! Chok! Chok! app, created by McCann WorldGroup, won a silver Mobile Lion at Cannes and Coke’s Move to the Beat of London 2012 app has found its way to the top 10 in markets around the world. What Daly wants is an app that will be remembered in 40 years, the way the “I Want to Teach the World to Sing” TV spot has been.Beyond creative branding, Daly thinks mobile will eventually enable every step of the transaction chain, from corporate to bottler to reseller to a consumer’s desire. The Auntie Anne’s campaign will help Coke better understand one link in that chain.

Daly said, “The minute somebody chooses to use their mob phone to buy a brand, we become a direct marketing company. We become a purchase funnel. There are a bunch of investments we can look at to understand what’s happening at that point of sale – and, ultimately, how do we make Auntie Anne’s more successful?”

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