Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coke's New World Cup Goal: Mainstream U.S. Consumers

Soccer may trail basketball and baseball in popularity in the U.S., but Coca-Cola sees that changing fast. Coca-Cola has been a major advertiser in the FIFA World Cup for decades, but this is the first time the company is targeting a more mainstream type of consumer, as opposed to Hispanics in the U.S., said Reinaldo Padua, assistant vice president of Hispanic marketing for North America. The campaign, which includes global TV, documentary and interactive components, comes as young American consumers take a more active interest in the sport—an interest that the company believes will extend to watching the games as well. Padua discussed what Coca-Cola is doing that’s new in the World Cup this year and how the company’s “Open Happiness” theme is a good fit for the sponsorship.

Brandweek: Coca-Cola has been an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup since 1978. What is different about the marketing campaign this year?
Reinaldo Padua: In the U.S., we’ve taken the activation of the World Cup across the entire U.S. market. Our efforts in the past were usually more concentrated in the Hispanic market. They are core fans of soccer. But with the growth in the practice and popularity of this sport, we are at that tipping point where during the weekends and in the summer you see soccer moms taking kids to practices and games. We’re looking for how to fuel that active living among their kids, and the company has decided to leverage that trend and take this to [a more general] market.

BW: But doesn’t soccer trail other sports, like basketball and football, in popularity in the U.S.?
RP: Soccer is one of the top three most practiced sports among youths in the U.S. [Specifically] it’s the most practiced sport among kids ages 8 to12 years old. So, what you see in that trend is that there is a natural passion and connection with this sport across the entire market, not only among Hispanic consumers.

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