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Can Food & Beverage Companies Bridge The Gap Between Online And Offline Marketing?

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Despite increased consumer preferences for nutritional foods and beverages and the War on Soda, there will still be over 30 billion liters of soda sold in the United States in 2016.
PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and other major food and beverage companies are diversifying their portfolios to address an increasingly health-conscious consumer base, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped marketing their trademark drinks.

Aside from the challenges of marketing soda products at a time when they are falling out of favor, food and beverage companies must find creative ways of bridging the gap between online and offline marketing channels to drive sales.

The food and beverage industry must learn from campaigns such as Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke,” PepsiCo’s “PepsiMoji,” and Oscar Mayer’s “Say It With Bacon” to discover how to reach an increasingly digital consumer base—especially as millennials continue to gain buying power.

Why Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Was Historically Successful

Coca-Cola’s 2015 “Share a Coke” campaign removed the company’s logo from Coke bottles and replaced it with 250 of a country’s most popular names. The global campaign created a personal connection for consumers, helped cause long-lost fans back to the brand to search the aisles for their own or their family’s names, and hinted at each person’s individuality (something millennials are driven by). While the offline sharing was important, the crux of the campaign was its ability to drive online engagement.

The main target for the “Share a Coke” campaign was millennial customers who would take to social media to spread the company’s efforts. Consumers were prompted to use the hashtag #ShareaCoke on Twitter to share their photos and personal stories, which Coca-Cola featured on their website.

Given the deep level of personalization and online engagement, consumers felt comfortable sharing stories without feeling like they were simply promoting Coke.

This led the campaign to spread to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, which led to further success for the brand.

The results were clear:

  • 25 million new Facebook followers
  • 500,000 photos shared with #ShareaCoke
  • 6 million virtual Coke bottles shared

Even with declining soda sales, Coca-Cola was able to reach the millennial market through personalization and online engagement—two factors that will be essential to the success of any food and beverage company moving forward. As Coca-Cola continues to diversify its product portfolio, millions of new social media followers will help the company increase the reach of new product launches.

The success of the “Share a Coke” campaign has prompted other food and beverage companies to find unique ways of bridging the online/offline marketing gap.

How PepsiCo Is Marketing with a Global Language—Emojis
Emojis have quickly become their own language—one that transcends cultural boundaries. PepsiCo has taken notice and intends to use emojis to connect their online and offline marketing efforts for Pepsi products.

The “PepsiMoji" campaign is targeting millennials with a multi-part effort:

  • Say It with Pepsi: The main piece of the campaign is centered on a proprietary set of 600 PepsiMoji designs. The company will release over one billion bottles in more than 100 markets with these emojis on them. The emojis serve to connect people on a global scale both offline (with the printed bottles) and online (where people can download the full PepsiMoji keyboard).

  • Wear It with Pepsi: PepsiCo commissioned fashion designer Jeremy Scott to create 6 limited-edition PepsiMoji sunglasses. By tapping into emoji pop culture, PepsiCo can capture the millennial market through personalization and a rich experience that spans both digital and physical mediums.

  • PepsiMoji Origins: PepsiCo is fully committing to creating a digital experience with a series of video content titled “Origins.” The goal is to create 50 short video pieces that are perfect for social media sharing on various cultural holidays throughout the world.



Similar to the “Share a Coke” campaign, PepsiCo is trying to use its position as a cultural icon to market its trademark product to millennials. However, the ultimate goal is to create a brand perception that resonates with consumers and drives sales not just for Pepsi, but for the company’s diverse product portfolio as well.

While digital experience is often synonymous with millennial consumers, other food and beverage companies have used these principles in Coca-Cola’s and PepsiCo’s campaigns to reach consumers of all ages.

Oscar Mayer Proves Digital Isn't Just Just for Millennials

In 2014, Oscar Mayer won a Shorty Award for its “Say It with Bacon” campaign. The campaign took the well-known process of buying an engagement ring and parodied it to portray women buying bacon for their husbands for Father’s Day.

While the creative work around the “Four C’s of Bacon”—cut, color, cure, and consistency—could have done well enough in a television ad, Oscar Mayer didn’t stop there.

Oscar Mayer developed a parallel digital experience to accompany its engagement ring parody video. Viewers were prompted to visit, where they could purchase bacon gifts for Father’s Day. The company used social media to update consumers on new batches of gifts and the results were immediate:

  • Gifts were sold out within minutes of release on Day 1 and sold out everyday throughout the campaign
  • The campaign accrued 500 million impressions
  • Oscar Mayer saw a 53% lift in social media conversations about the brand
  • While bacon sales dropped 7.7%, Oscar Mayer saw 3.3% growth.

The “Say It with Bacon” campaign was rooted in an observation that purchasing bacon was a highly investigative process as people spent a long time examining packaging at grocery stores before making a decision.

Oscar Mayer was able to differentiate itself from the crowded bacon market by incorporating online engagement—not just for millennials, but for consumers of all ages purchasing bacon for Father’s Day.

There are countless ways to incorporate social media and online engagement into traditional offline food and beverage market. The key is for companies to examine market trends and determine how to best engage their targets in a personal and enjoyable way.

Keeping Track of Evolving Food and Beverage Preferences
Before any food and beverage company can decide how to bridge the gap between online and offline marketing channels, it must determine the consumer preferences new products or rebranding efforts will address. However, the food and beverage industry is undergoing major changes today and it can be difficult to decide what your best move is in the market.

If you want to learn more about the current evolution of junk food and the food and beverage industry as a whole, contact Signals Analytics for a download of our case study, free demo of the Signals Playbook™.


unknown-1593205487947Written by Erin Stavi
Erin Stavi is a Senior Food & Beverage Customer Success Manager at Signals Analytics, a Decision Science as a Service company, that enables global organizations to continuously experience the “aha moment” through Signals Playbook™, a cloud-based analytical intelligence platform that transforms the world’s unconnected data into actionable insights to enhance customer experience, optimize product portfolio health and propel innovation. Erin is a seasoned partner to Food & Beverage companies, devoting years to working hand-in-hand with leading F&B companies such as Kellogg and MillerCoors. She has a background in market research/analytics with a passion for growth and hunger for winning consumer preference.

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Chris Thatcher
5W Public Relations 646-430-5161
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