Coca-Cola And Storytelling: A Case Study

Storytelling is slowly becoming one of the most utilized branding strategies, and for good reason too. Stories connect people with each other, allow us to look at someone with empathy, and help people reach out to each other and celebrate their differences and similarities.

Although a lot of brands are utilizing this tactic to become more approachable for their audience, one particular brand has a long history of using this storytelling technique to provide a human connection to their name: Coca-Cola. The brand is hailed as one of the best storytellers of the last 10 or so decades, aiming to share content that people are willing to watch rather than forced to.

Whether it’s sharing awareness about cultural celebrations, encouraging the idea of stronger relationships, or teaching people to come together to sing and celebrate, Coca-Cola focuses on spreading positivity in all its themes. And it’s this storytelling strategy through which they promote the idea of human connections that I’m going to talk about in this blog by highlighting some of their most remarkable marketing campaigns.

Coke is a Feeling

One of the biggest takeaways from every Coca-Cola marketing campaign, something even they point out quite happily, is how the company associates positive feelings with the brand’s name in every ad they make.

One of their marketing heads states in an interview that the company always tries to associate positive experiences of happiness, joy, friendships, celebrations, etc. And it’s this association with positivity and joy that makes Coca-Cola hit the right strings when it comes to building human connectivity.

The stories that Coca-Cola shares through its campaigns always include a refreshing, unique, and overall wholesome feel, accompanied by the right kind of music, making the audience invest their time willingly into watching the ads not just once but over and over again because of the positive experience they provide. And the biggest proof of that? Our very own Coke Studio.

Share A Coke

Perhaps one of the most successful marketing campaigns by any brand, Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” became a globally popular strategy instantly after its launch. The campaign aimed at bonding with the consumers at a personalized level, for which the company label from the infamous bottle was replaced with the most popular names from around a specific country where the bottles were distributed.

This campaign became so successful that it resulted in more than 500,000 pictures shared with the hashtag i.e. #ShareACoke, gaining Coca-Cola approximately 25 million new followers on Facebook in the same year.

As the campaign became well-loved throughout the world, the company kept introducing more customizations to the label, going from generic relationships i.e. Share a Coke with Friend, BFF, Mom, etc, to introducing different emoji-themed feelings that made people have a more personalized experience and connect with each other using the brand’s taglines.

Coke and Meals

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the first ad that Coca-cola, staying true to their vision of highlighting the positives, released an ad showing how, when everything stopped, people started to spend more time at the place it was needed the most i.e. with their families. The campaign’s aim was to bring people together, highlight how the pandemic also has a positive side to it, making people pay attention to things that matter the most, something which people didn’t have the time to do before.

The Pakistani version of the ad featured a cover of Junaid Jamshed’s song, Ye Shaam, making people feel even more nostalgic and feel empathy and connectivity as intended by Coca-Cola through the campaign.

Celebrations with Coke

Boasting as a brand that celebrates and spreads happiness, Coca-Cola obviously does its fair share of marketing campaigns when it comes to religious or cultural festivals and events.

The Coca-Cola Santa Claus has always been a famous figure among the Western population, but their heartwarming Ramadan TVCs have also not failed to impress when it comes to making people empathic while also teaching them a few lessons about different religious festivals.

Highlighting the festive season from Ramadan to Christmas to Diwali, there isn’t much that Coca-Cola misses out on when it comes to storytelling and building a connection with the audience they’re marketing in front of.

Bonus Point – Karachi is Love!

Now that’s a sentiment all of us agree with! It wasn’t long ago when banners and billboards started emerging throughout the city of lights stating “Karachi Love Hai!” in different ways; the campaign came after the city was hit with the worst kind of monsoon back in mid-2020. It was introduced to promote a more positive look into Pakistan’s biggest metropolitan city, encouraging the audience to look at all the cultures, energetic lifestyles, and positive and happy experiences provided by Karachi.

After all the hardships faced by the largest city of Pakistan, this campaign was something that portrayed the feelings of everyone living in Karachi, showcasing how, even in the midst of being overlooked, the city is still as strong as ever before.

There isn’t any doubt that Coca-Cola tells stories in a remarkably attractive manner that grabs the audience’s attention, and holds it till the very end. The main ingredient that gets them to do it right? Their focus on making the audience the center of every campaign, making them feel like they’re the main character instead of just another consumer to be targeted by a corporate brand.

Whether it’s the Karachi is Love campaign, or the brand’s Share a Coke strategy, or just a simple ad to promote the spirit of celebrations, Coca-Cola highlights the audience’s journey as an individual, and that’s what attracts the audience to invest in the brand’s already strong colors and themes.

Maha Abdul Rehman

A content writer and a psychology major, I procrastinate for 6 months or write consecutively. And I occasionally watch (see: obsess about) Football.

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