The myriad beads of perspiration on the side of the Coke can above represent Coke’s previous virtual marketing plan. This is a company that has struggled so badly to define its digital identity, that it once had seven different domain names for various campaigns. Yesterday, the company announced that it will abandon building ever-more networking platforms in favor of approaching customers at the places they already hang out, like Facebook and YouTube.
Hopefully that will go as smoothly as their physical world makeover. Thanks to a number of recent smart design choices the brand has become more hip on a unified global scale. They’ve also boosted geek expectations that they will be a next-generation taste leader with customer-is-always-right customizers like the 100-flavor soda fountain.
Pepsi, meanwhile, seems happy to pour money into their own online infrastructure. This week, the company launches The Refresh Project, a crowdsourced philanthropy where the people who submit the best ideas for changing their community will actually get awarded the money to do it. They’ve even doubled down on the investment, pulling Super Bowl ads for the first time in 23 years to have more start-up money. The good news for Coke: the next time they figure out how to harness the crowd, the crowd might actually be able to find them, rather than scouting here, or here, or maybe over here.