Coke Runs First All-Digital Effort, Focusing on Teens and Mobile

Beverage giant debuts multi-year initiative

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Coca-Cola has emerged from an extensive round of teen panels and believes it knows what those kids want from the brand—fun, "snackable" digital experiences that center on mobile consumption over desktops. The beverage firm today unveiled "The AHH Effect" initiative with agency partner Wieden + Kennedy that will eventually include dozens of digital games and other content based on their recent research.

Pio Schunker, svp of integrated marketing communications at Coca-Cola North America, put the effort into historical perspective for the brand this morning during an online presentation. "Very importantly, this is going to mark the first all-digital campaign by Coca-Cola," he said. "And critically, this signals a whole new way in which we've decided to create marketing content."

Schunker added: "Mobile phones are [teens'] lifelines. It's not that they don't watch TV. But mobile is their first screen."

Seventeen digital experiences, such as games called "Ice Toss" and "Guide the Bubble," are live today via dedicated sites that entail images that could be described as interesting if not random or even kaleidoscopic. To be clear, while Coke believes most of the activity will happen on smartphones and tablets, the effort can be accessed from desktops. A digital media push involving 19 teen-friendly media partners like Alloy, Vevo, Buzzfeed, Facebook and Twitter will be in the offing, while a 15-second video teaser went live this morning.

What's more, Coke marketers envision this content-based strategy to be long term. "The goal is for this to be a multi-year campaign," Schunker said.

In the coming weeks, Coke will utilize paid and owned media via Facebook and Twitter to encourage teens to create their own software-based experiences for the brand. Out of the submissions, 25 will be selected to be included in "The AHH Effect" run. Eventually, there will be 61 such experiences with a dedicated destination—each new addition will add an "H" to the URL. So yes, the 12th experience will have a URL entailing a dozen Hs.

Schunker explained, "We will be refreshing these 61 experiences and optimizing them throughout the year as well as in the future in a way that we hope will continuously tap into a teen's desire for discovery, constant stimulation, novelty as well as recognition."

Twice a week, the brand will analyze the content while switching out mediocre performers for more-promising items. The content will be modeled from a mobile-first perspective and attempt to appeal to modern teens' famously short attention spans. To hear Schunker describe it, Coke is setting up a content lab focusing on teens and mobile.

"This is meant to be a constantly iterating campaign," he said. "We fully expect to end up in a completely different place compared to where we started."

Lastly, the campaign does have one small offline element. Beginning in May, Coke's 16- and 20-ounce products will feature "AHH" moments to drive fans to the URLs.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.