Coca-Cola has been reaching out to soccer fans living in former FIFA’s former World Cup Korea, as you can see above. It’s also setting its sights on “mommy bloggers” and other netizens in Seoul. They are looking for local “digital influencers” to evangelize about Coke in South Korea by appealing to bloggers who seem sympatico with the brand’s marketing message.
To that end, Coke has been hosting parties in hip Seoul restaurants for bloggers who have “clout with youngsters and cover the topics that interest them the most. The party was to build a new partnership with the young bloggers,” as Kenth Kaerhoeg, group communications director for Coca-Cola’s Pacific Group, tells Ad Age.[more]
At these events, Coke reps engage the digerati in a more informal type of focus group about how the soft-drink brand can communicate with them better. The end goal, of course: to encourage Koreans to drink more Coke.
Similar to McDonald’s outreach to U.S. mommy bloggers, Coke has established a core group of eight bloggers it’s been working with since 2008. They are considered “vitally important stakeholders,” according to Kaerhoeg.
“Each blogger has been paid careful attention to, various brand and company information appropriate to each blogger’s interest and inclination has been continuously provided, involving them into a variety of marketing and corporate events, therefore enabling them to share unique and exciting Coke experiences.”
South Korea is prime digital real estate. The country’s Internet users as a percentage of population stood at 75.8% in 2008. 43% of Koreans have an online profile or blog and nine out of ten of the country’s millennials check in daily on social-networking sites.
One of the so-called “Coke friends” commented: “Lots of companies are engaged in blog marketing nowadays, and we, as bloggers, do get lots of requests. But Coca-Cola Korea was different. The company really listened to us from the beginning. The company fully allowed me to enjoy the area that I was most interested with and share my experience through my blog. Lots of people ask me how to become a Coke blogger.”
Ever prescient, Ad Age had this comment in June 2009: “Despite their lightweight moniker, mommy bloggers have become marketing business heavyweights. Now said to number in the millions, these online women have cobbled together content networks that rival some mainstream media companies.”
Apparently Coca-Cola agrees. They plan to expand to dinner parties in other Asian markets including China, Singapore, Australia and Japan – taking lessons from Seoul. Already a world leader in soft drinks marketing, Coke now forges ahead in social media strategies in emerging markets.