Coca-Cola is one of the most prestigious and iconic marketers in history. They are one of the most recognized brands in the entire world, which is partly in thanks to their sponsorships of some of the world’s
biggest sporting events including the Olympics and World Cup. They’re also one of the companies that spend the most on advertising: in 2013, they dropped $3.3 billion trying to convince people to drink their unhealthy, carbonated sugar water. However, it may have paid off because they have the fourth most valuable brand, just behind Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Yet despite all that experience and skill, they also don’t know what they’re doing when it to comes viral marketing.
One failed attempt at viral marketing happened in February of 2015 with their #MakeItHappy campaign, which was meant to target internet bullying. Coca-Cola encouraged people to tag mean tweets with the #MakeItHappy tag and then an algorithm would turn the words into cute pictures. It was a nice idea in theory, but then some people at Gawker decided to upload passages from Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. After tweeting out a cute picture using the words of one of the most evil men in history, Coca-Cola ended the campaign.
The second online mishap happened in September of 2015 with their #ShareACokecampaign. At the time, people could order a Coke with personalized labels. A health advocate group ordered one of these bottles that read “Share a Coke with Obesity” and amazingly, Coke printed it and shipped it out. The picture of the bottle with the #ShareACoke tag quickly went viral.
The third campaign to fail miserably was #GifTheFeeling, which allowed people to make animated GIFs about how Coca-Cola made them feel. Coca-Cola blocked a lot of negative words like “diabetes” and “obesity” so people had to get clever with it. For example, one user wrote “Diabeetus,” a pronunciation made infamous by Wilford Brimley. Another funny GIF was a bottle exploding, with a the words “diarrhea” written on the GIF, which certainly invokes a less than appetizing image of Coca-Cola.