Friday, July 22, 2005

How not to do mobile marketing. Lesson 2, Coca Cola.

oh dear oh dear oh dear.

You'd think Coca Cola, with all its experience in running mobile marketing campaigns would get it right wouldn't you? Their latest campaign is an on-pack promotion offering free 'coketags' (which is basically Shazam rebranded) and music downloads. And it's a pretty good concept - get your code from the pack, enter it online for a chance to win ringtones and coketags. Relatively simple? One would have thought.

So I gave it a go and lost a couple of times, but I persevered (I like Coke you see!) until I eventually won a free ringtone. The trouble is I wasn't able to download it. I clicked on the link and got a communication error. OK, this happens. So I tried again a couple of days later only to find that the system thought I'd already downloaded the ringtone, which I hadn't. Very disappointing.

As I work in the industry, I put this down to serendipity - very often when I test out other people's campaigns, and if there's a bug, I usually find it. This doesn't appear to happen to *real* customers in the same way. So I figured that it might be a one-off.

Then a couple of weeks back, when running one of my mobile marketing sessions for the IDM, we were discussing current mobile marketing campaigns and the Coke one came up. And a couple of people in the room had given it a go, and one of them had exactly the same problem as I had.

Ok, so technical fulfilment can be tricky sometimes. It's technology, it's not perfect.

But then I get this message yesterday at 15:44:

From: Coca-Cola [no reply path]

"Last chance 2 win ringtones or music downloads in Coke promo. All who entered in last 2 wks won. Last draw Jul 24@3pm. Pick up promo pack now. Rply stop 2 unsub" 160 characters.

Except, that I can't reply stop to unsubscribe because there's no reply path. D'oh.

I wondered if they bothered testing any of this stuff before it went live?

tags: & & &

The image is from Ohio University's advertising archive.


  1. Anonymous2:30 am GMT

    Heh, you forgot to mention that website denies access to Firefox/Mac users:

    "Sorry, but you are unable to access To access this site you need:

    • A PC with a Microsoft Windows Operating System; Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP

    • Internet Explorer (version 6.0 or above). Version 6.0 is available free from Microsoft. Click here to find out how to install it onto your PC.


  2. Well spotted! In fairness, I didn't try accessing the website - just the mobile stuff so I didn't realise they'd also messed up the web fulfilment!

  3. A reader emailed me a few days ago to ask what a 'coketag' was so I thought I'd post here and explain it.

    A coketag is Coca Cola's name for the Shazam service.

    The way it works is that you hear a piece of music and can't remember what it is. You dial 2580 (in the UK) and place your phone roughly in the direction of the music. The system 'listens' to the music for about 20 seconds, turns itself off automatically and then sends you a text message telling you what the track and artist are.

    In this campaign for Coca Cola, you could win free 'coketags' which would enable you to use the Shazam service for free instead of the usual 50p or so.

    In addition, the music you 'tag' is stored in a web profile so that you can go back to it and find it again.

    Hope this helps.


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