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Coca-Cola tests NFC-enabled vending machines to bolster mcommerce presenceBy Rimma Kats
NEW YORK – A Coca-Cola executive at ad:tech said the beverage giant is piloting a program with Google Wallet where consumers can use their mobile device to pay for a drink at 200 of its vending machines across the United States.
During the “Brands and Innovation – Spreading Stories to Create Value “ keynote session, the executive discussed how mobile plays an integral part in the company’s overall strategy. According to the executive, evolution is absolutely mandatory and the landscape is constantly changing, as should marketers.
“We’re doing a trial with Google Wallet and it’s great for those consumers who don’t have cash but want to buy a coke,” said Wendy Clark, senior vice president of integrated marketing communications and capabilities at The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta. “We’re experimenting with this.
“The combination of mobile commerce and location technology moves our business from the point of sale to the point of thirst,” she said. “If we know where you are and that you are thirsty we can move you to the nearest outlet to quench that thirst.
“We have to place bets and we have to take risks if we want to feel innovation in the way that we market.”
According to Ms. Clark, consumer engagement has changed over time.
“We’re now interacting with connected consumers,” Ms. Clark said. “What does this change mean?
“Content, there is more content in the world,” she said. “Storytelling is key – stories to us are content experiences and conversations.
“What do we want to do with these stories, we want them to spread and of course this creates value.”
According to the executive, it is important that marketers spur innovation and create value over time.
“Stories equal currency,” Ms. Clark said. “No one’s lacking for content so yours has to be supremely good if you want it to spread.”
In addition to Coca-Cola’s mobile efforts in the United States, the company has been bolstering its presence internationally as well.
In Europe, Coca-Cola’s Fanta rolled out a voice transformer app that let users play a prank on their friends.
The app changed the user’s voice. For example, if the person was male they could change their voice to sound female.
“At the end, you could post the recording of the conversation on Facebook,” Ms. Clark said. “Fanta is very playful and it was a great opportunity.”
Additionally, Coca-Cola rolled out Chok, a mobile application to Hong Kong consumers.
The objective of the app was to get users to collect bottle caps from the Coca-Cola TV commercial they were watching.
Users were encouraged to download the Chok app and when they saw the Coke bottle cap flying out from the TV commercial, they could “catch” it with their mobile device and then shake their handset for a chance to win prizes and rewards.
The company promoted the new app through newspaper and magazine ads, as well as online and mobile ads.
“The app hit No. 1 in the charts after the launch,” Ms. Clark said. “The penetration for this campaign was outstanding.”
According to Ms. Clark, marketers need to be shareworthy and make sure that they content that they provide to users is engaging.
“If we do our job well and we give our fans share-worthy content,” Ms. Clark said.”Then they become the salesforce.”
“We have to be relentless as marketers,” she said. “There are a lot of challenges in mobile marketing right now.
“There are a lot of pieces and guidelines and when you try to do it on a global basis it’s even more complex. We want this to be better.”
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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