Dispensing Happiness: How Coke Harnesses Video to Spread Happiness (2010) Stanford Graduate School of Business (Aaker, Leslie, Rogier)
Coca-Cola (“Coke”) is one of the best-known brands in the world and the world’s sixth-largest advertiser based on dollars spent needed a cost-effective way to build deeper connections with consumers, especially teens, and its flagship Coke product. The company hypothesized that leveraging digital social media would enable it to better connect with young consumers around the globe. Teens, even if they loved a piece of social media, were hesitant to post a link to it on their Facebook or MySpace page out of fear that their friends would not approve their choices. Coke believed that if the content was compelling enough–funny or shocking–teens would share it. To this end, Coke designed and installed a unique soda vending machine on a college campus in New York as well as a hidden camera to film what happened when students bought beverages. Coke’s plan was to upload the video to YouTube and benefit from the excitement the machine generated and spread unexpected happiness around the world.