Infamous for ringing in the official start of the festive period with their TV ads, Coca Cola continues to inspire and innovate in marketing. Today we continue our festive theme, looking at some top Christmas digital campaigns of the past from this carbonated drinks giant.

Coca Cola - Share a Message and #SweaterGenerator

There are a multitude of things associated with Christmas - Christmas puddings, mistletoe, eggnog and leaving milk and cookies out for Santa. However, over the years Coca Cola has become synonymous with spreading Christmas cheer with the ‘Holidays are Coming’ ad, which many associate with as the first indicator of the Christmas season.

Although this ad has been a huge success and Christmas staple for years, Coca Cola are continually looking for ways to improve and in recognising the power of digital, they turned to social media for their christmas campaign back in 2011.

Celebrating 80 years of Christmas advertising, Coke’s 2011 campaign began with it’s iconic ‘Holidays are Coming’ ad and UK truck tour, but for the first time they also added a digital element via social media.

Throughout the campaign the brand provided customers the chance to have their tweets displayed on the newly refurbished Coca Cola sign in Piccadilly Circus by submitting their message through Coke Zone - a dedicated, interactive microsite. Not only could customers see their message on the sign itself, they had the ability to watch the Live Stream on the Coke Zone website, screenshot their message and share it with a loved one. This ticked many boxes of a successful social campaign recipe, as it was simple, shareable and personalised - an excellent way to make Coke customers feel valued while spreading the reach of the brand.

During this campaign 864 tweets were displayed on the screen each day and the live stream was viewed thousands of times online throughout.

Following this and with the hype and popularity of tacky Christmas jumpers growing in recent years, Coke tapped into this trend and in 2013, launched ‘Sweater Generator’. Via social media, fans were encouraged to visit the microsite and ‘release their inner knitter’, to design their own tacky Christmas creation online. When complete, all designs were placed in the Coke Zone gallery where fans were encouraged to gain as many votes as possible via social media using the hashtag #SweaterGenerator. In exchange for their participation, on the 1st of December, when all votes had been cast, the top 100 sweaters were to be created in the real world and these wooly lovelies were then sent to their designers - a great incentive to get involved, which was also fun (in line with Coke’s brand tone)!

Not only was this campaign an excellent way to get fans involved through personalisation, it created excellent user-generated content and perfectly executed Coke’s brand message of ‘Enjoy Everything’.

Now as we creep into November, we have witnessed the first few sightings of Christmas in Coca Cola’s ‘Holidays are coming’ ad and we look forward to seeing what other campaigns they have in store to engage their customers. Watch this space!