13 January 2014 - 1:01pm | posted by | 12 comments

Coca-Cola explores iBeacons as marketing tool for World Cup sponsorship

Coca-Cola explores iBeacons as marketing tool for World Cup sponsorship Coca-Cola explores iBeacons as marketing tool for World Cup

Coca Cola is testing the viability of using Apple's iBeacons as a major part of its marketing activity for major calendar events including the World Cup, for which it is a key sponsor.

The FMCG giant has been developing a number of mobile initiatives over the past year, including its use of mobile marketing platform Weve, and is now looking ahead to how mobile tools can help it further integrate all its marketing activity around events such as the World Cup.

Coca Cola Enterprise’s digital director Simon Miles told The Drum it is leaning heavily towards the use of iBeacons to help tie together its marketing plans around major fixtures like the World Cup, but also its brands throughout its licensing and restaurant trading.

“We are looking long and hard at iBeacons and what they might bring to market. It’s very interesting. We have some good ideas which will come to market this year around this as there are big opportunities.

“If you think that we can offer people various different offers and conversations with people depending on how close they are to our fixtures it can really help bring your marketing to life in a new way. What’s interesting is how we can integrate it.

“What’s really interesting is where we can have iBeacons installed so a person will receive one message when in the car park, then a second, different one once they are in-store, in a way which can bring your message to life.”

Coca-Cola is trialling the Apple technology, which is an indoor positioning system that works like Bluetooth to pinpoint a person’s location in a store and allows for push notifications, within its own canteen initially before scaling up its use, according to Miles.

He said major events are difficult for brands to stand out, describing them as “difficult, noisy environments to cut through.”

The Apple technology, which can also be used on Android devices, could help it cut through in new ways, according to Miles.

“You can start to imagine what you can do to bring your campaigns to life at the fixtures like the world cup.

“Even in supermarkets there are tens of thousands of product SKUs - how do you get yours seen? This will start to help us cut through. Also in the licence trade – in bars for example it’s hard to see what soft drinks are available as people simply can’t see over the bar – there are no visible signs. We can do that with iBeacons – the opportunities in different environments like live events, restaurants and licence trade – are big,” he said.

The World Cup will take place in Brazil this summer.

Last autumn American Airlines became began trialling iBeacons in its airports.

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13 Jan 2014 - 13:51
claire@netpremacy's picture

Very keen on the use of iBeacons and Bluetooth as part of an integrated mobile strategy for 2014. Will be interested to see how brands start to use this, and at t2 Creative Studios we're keen to develop campaigns like this with our partners.

15 Jan 2014 - 21:13
james81327's picture

hi claire might be able to help have a look at desireitnow.com@Claire@t2creati...

14 Jan 2014 - 17:47

I think they are making massive assumptions that will disappoint. Firstly consumers do not want to be hit by endless messages pinging on their mobiles. 83% of consumers 'hate' push messaging. You'd have to switch on your Bluetooth so making your phone vulnerable to hacking. I fear Coke have been sold a bit of a digital elephant here. There are smarter ways to connect with consumers in a positive way rather than seeing them as targets.

29 Apr 2014 - 07:12

@chrisarnold88 Chris, consumers don't seem to mind relevant push messages, and beacons have a huge potential to be relevant based on the proximity of the user. Some research from April 2014 shows that "45% of mobile consumers willing to receive retailer messages via beacon technology, research finds". Lastly, your comment on NFC is IMHO a bit misleading as beacons and NFC are quite distinct in terms of what they can enable, try positioning a user in an airport using NFC and making that intuitive and convenient for the same user.

14 Jan 2014 - 18:13

NFC is afar better technology and reaches a larger audience. Plus it's well stablished technology across many different industries.

14 Jan 2014 - 18:09

There are a number of flaws in Coca-Cola's thinking. The first big assumption is that people want to get PUSH messaging at a game or in a restaurant and it's all very promotional focused. Giraffe (restaurant chain owned by Tesco) are using NFC instead because it empowers the consumer and can take them to a more engaging experience. NFC can also target a far bigger audience of smartphone users than Apple users. The future is in PULL, to respect consumers, not see them as targets, as Chris says.

14 Jan 2014 - 18:29
simpl25461's picture

While iBeacons are a new initiative seemingly backed/pushed by Apple, it is really unfortunate that Brands such as Coca Cola did not pursue the NFC tech more vigorously. IBeacons operate on a push function vs NFC which works on pull, NFC handsets account for approximately 85% of latest smartphones on the global market, while iOs is only in around 15%? NFC campaigns can run globally and dont need to be locatiom specific thereby giving everyone in around the world the opportunity of interacting with major fixtures like the World Cup, Brazil games, Commonwealth Games etc. In retail, if there are going to be multiple offers pushed out via bluetooth, imagine the confusion it will cause when walking through a supermarket? NFC is more specific in terms of proximity and engagement therefore more accurate. NFC together with iBeacon could offer a really powerful delivery across all handsets, giving the consumer the choice which method to opt for ie push vs pull!

14 Jan 2014 - 20:38
dougm17168's picture

I'm not sure I understand where iBeacon is equated with push? At its very best implementation, iBeacon is contextual in a way that NFC simple is NOT. Calm computing, contextual content - it doesn't imply that you NEED to push and I'm going to take it as a given that a company like Coca Cola understands how to design brand experiences that respect the various degrees of push/contextual and permission-based preferences of their customers.

Second - the decision isn't binary. While Apple does NOT support NFC, all the major devices support Bluetooth LE - so the die is cast I'm afraid on NFC being the end game for proximity. But why do you assume that because you've chosen Bluetooth LE that it means you've totally excluded RFID or NFC? An app can be both - and I can see Android apps that use iBeacon for general proximity and NFC for...you guessed it, near-field.

15 Jan 2014 - 20:59
james81327's picture

Have a look at Desire it - it is the perfect beacon platform as it pulls and pushes relevant content the shopper wants - BINGO www.desireitnow.com

16 Jan 2014 - 01:37
kelly14081's picture

ibeacon present a great opportunity for Coca Cola as has the numerous variations of the proximity marketing tools I have seen over the last 10 + years. ibeacon is definitely closer to a seamless experience than some of its predecessors, however the thing brands (big and small) tend to forget about is the content and too often assume that on mobile they can regurgitate desktop content and just make it smaller. they miss the opportunity to be timely, relevant, engaging and personal; which is why we have seen so many of these opportunities to connect with consumers on their mobiles fail.. The opportunity for targeted micro content is huge but there needs to be a mobile content strategy that focuses on what you want to hear (as a consumer) rather than what I want to tell you (as a brand).

10 Mar 2014 - 15:07

The ultimate challenge beacons (no need for the i) will face is the over eager marketing professionals misunderstanding "permission" to contact as an invitation to spam consumers, and then looking at the "big data figures" from the campaigns and assuming some level of success, whilst consumers turn off bluetooth in their droves having felt completely violated.

16 May 2014 - 03:00
georg14378's picture

Our discussions are premised on the idea of one or two major brands using iBeacon to target consumers in a particular location. What happens when every brand big and small gets into the action? Can you imagine the chaos? Many may not be as careful and conscious as a Cocacola might be. What is ideal is some sort of real-time opt-in prompted by visible messages and a way to connect, possibly using URL's.


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