Sprite Campaign Integrates Facebook Connect With YouTube

Coca-Cola has launched an online social media campaign to promote its Sprite soft drink brand, featuring an innovative integration of Facebook Connect functionality alongside YouTube video content. The campaign marks the first time Facebook’s Connect API has been implemented on Google’s YouTube site, an interesting decision considering current competition for big brand advertisers.

The “Green Eyed World” online video series, to be broadcast through a dedicated YouTube channel, will track the life of a 24-year-old London-based singer/songwriter Katie Vogel as she attempts to launch a music career. Fans are encouraged to interact with the musician through social media, potentially influencing her choices and her subsequent journey.

“YouTube generally has a policy that any click should take you to another video or a sponsor, but in this instance it was very open and very aware. They didn’t view the Facebook integration as competition; they viewed it as added value,” said Damon Crepin-Burr, creative director and partner of FullSIX Group, the creative agency behind the campaign. “We have a super deal with Google at the moment, and we’re happy to have Google and Facebook working together,” he added.

The integration allows users to comment on the YouTube hosted videos through Facebook, instead of using YouTube’s own comments system. These actions may then syndicate to users’ Facebook pages and feeds, depending on their privacy preferences, potentially seeding further interest among their contacts across the social network. “YouTube doesn’t allow the same level of social interaction as Facebook. Most users don’t log in when they’re using it, and users cut and paste URLs rather than really engaging within the platform,” Crepin-Burr explained.

In a statement, Stafford Green, head of digital marketing Europe for the Coca-Cola Company, said he hoped the format would enable Sprite to communicate its core brand values over time, rather than repeating messages through traditional media outlets.

Sprite had initially wanted to focus on building the campaign around television spots, but decided the most effective way to reach a multitasking generation was to facilitate interaction with the brand and the content, Burr said. He also suggested that further integration with other social media platforms, such as Twitter and MySpace, was a possibility further down the line, if that’s what users want. “We’ll follow user feedback, rather than the other way round,” he said.

The YouTube channel will be supported by online and offline marketing activity, including indoor and outdoor display, point-of-sale displays, live events, and merchandising. Broadcasting the content through traditional TV outlets is also a possibility, Crepin-Burr said, providing the incentive for user interactivity was preserved.

The first episode will go live on May 1, alongside a free iPhone application and a Pan-European YouTube partnership with a homepage presence in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian and German.

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