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Impact Seminar Snapshot: Pernod, Google, Coca-Cola Execs Tackle Digital Marketing

March 25, 2014

With the digital revolution and the spread of mobile technology rapidly changing the way consumers interact with media, it was only fitting that top executives from both the drinks and media industries weighed in on the topic at this year’s Impact Seminar.

One of the companies at the vortex of the digital media trend, Google-owned YouTube, was represented by Lucas Watson, vice president of global brand solutions at the web giant. Highlighting the ongoing shift of consumers from TV, print and other media to the Internet—and specifically to mobile devices—Watson said that digital marketing has opened up new, less costly avenues of promotion, which are especially beneficial for companies that can’t afford to run TV and print ads all year long. Urging marketers to move quickly in the mobile space, Watson added that, “By the end of this year, 30% of all Internet traffic will be on a mobile screen.”

Few brands have been more effective at digital promotion than Coca-Cola, whose senior vice president for global sparkling brands, Wendy Clark, detailed the group’s digital strategy, including its central Liquid & Linked initiative. Liquid & Linked, said Clark, represents Coca-Cola’s vision of sharing stories about its brands through multiple channels, including owned, shared, earned and paid media, in that order. When the company creates its own content, one of its imperatives is to ensure that the material is “shareworthy, because the initial audience isn’t the only goal.” Coca-Cola itself has 80 million fans on Facebook, said Clark, but for its messaging to have full impact, those fans must continue distributing its brand stories throughout Facebook’s full network of roughly 1.3 billion users.

Wine and spirits marketers also have been energetic in utilizing digital media to boost their brands. Bryan Fry, president and CEO of Pernod Ricard USA, told the Seminar audience that the industry is moving from “spray and pray” marketing to a focus on the “speed of the feed.” Traditional TV, print and outdoor executions, he said, must integrate into the brand stories being told online. Illustrating digital’s power to reach legions of consumers worldwide, Fry pointed out that a $13,000 billboard spend garners around 320,000 impressions, while the same spend on social media can reach more than 6 million consumers. Digital formats also allow drinks companies to move beyond traditional brand pitches and hone in on service, which can be crucial in sectors like spirits, which consumers often find confusing to shop. The bar itself isn’t about to go virtual, Fry added, but, especially for the younger generation, bar-goers’ phones—and the digital access they provide—are rarely more than 30 centimeters from their drinks.

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