Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?
How could Coca-Cola make hard-to-impress Star Wars-fans as hyped for their limited edition Star Wars-cans as for the release of the final installment in the Star Wars saga? Coca-Cola decided to transform one of their most important distribution-channels, the vending machine, into a fan-powered brand experience. Coca-Cola did not only manage to drive engagement for their cans and sponsorship – they also made every Star wars-fan’s dream of using “The Force” in real life, come true. And by that turning a regular consumption opportunity into an engaging, personal meeting with the target-audience, where the product was key to the experience.
The end of 2019 marked the long awaited last instalment in the Star Wars Saga – The Rise of Skywalker, to premiere across the world. Being in a long partnership with Disney, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has been part of promoting the latest Star Wars films since 2015. Being a famous, mainstream brand comes with the challenge of having trouble being credible in niche contexts. Sponsorships might end up feeling forced upon rather than appreciated and relevant. So for the new film, Coca-Cola wanted to drive relevance for their product among cinema-goers and Star Wars fans from all generations, through an integrated campaign led by an engaging, brand-experience with innovative thinking and technology to match. The focus for the experience was the distribution of the six special edition Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Star Wars-cans that was created before the release of the film and the key markets were France and Germany.
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
To spark interest in collecting the special edition cans and highlight the partnership, Coca-Cola decided to create an unforgettable brand-experience, by making every Star Wars fan’s biggest dream come true: A chance to try The Force in real life. The solution: Feel the Force Machine, the world’s first interactive vending machine powered by the force of actual brain waves. Fans got a chance to battle for a Coke with their minds, by wearing EEG-headsets that analyzed the electric activity in the user’s brain stem. The one who concentrated the hardest, was able to move the playing can to their side. The machine toured cinemas and key venues in Europe, where fans stood in line for hours to try it. The overall campaign was supported by TVC, OOH and in-store material that all worked to connect Coca-Cola Zero Sugar to “The Force” in different ways .
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
Knowing this was the last installment in a 40 year old Saga, Coca-Cola, with a brand history of bringing people together, wanted to create a brand experience that could bring value and drive interest among Star Wars fans from all generations. A challenge of course, was being respectful towards their love for the films and creating actual value through our product. Another challenge with this specific audience is that they’re used to seeing brands trying to piggyback on their beloved community, making them hard to impress.
With this in mind, Coca-Cola decided to go beyond regular sampling and instead turn one of their most important distribution channels into something that could be engaging for Star wars-fans from all generations. And something that unites all fans, is the dream of using “The Force”, the central power of the Star wars-Universe. So Coca-Cola’s strategy was to turn sampling into a fan-driven-experience, literally.
Describe the execution (30% of vote)
To find a way to experience “The Force” in real life, we used EEG technology as the key element when building the machine. By using EEG-headsets, the vending-machine could analyze the electric activity in the user’s cerebral cortex. This technology made it possible for the player whose brain-activity measured the highest level of focus, to move the playing can to their side, leading to the machine dispensing one of the special edition cans for the winner, turning every consumption occasion into a personal, tangible and unforgettable interaction with their audience.
In conjunction with the premiere of The Rise of Skywalker, the machine toured Star wars-events and cinemas on the key markets. People queued for hours to integrate with it. Simultaneously Coca-Cola ran an integrated campaign, pushing the cans and connecting Coca-Cola Zero Sugar to “The Force” on other relevant consumer touch points.
List the results (30% of vote)
Through Feel the Force Machine, Coca-Cola managed to create a vending-machine, powered by the brain force of actual Starwars fans, that made for an engaging, personal and unique drinking-experience that fans stood in line to try on Star Wars events and cinemas all over Europe. The integrated campaign, led by the Feel the Force Machine, generated great results within the target-group, that affected sales and brand love on the key markets:
FRANCE, Lead market
- In-cinema volume + 53% vs 2018
- Highest value share for 2 years – 20.9% (Nov)
- Surpassed Brand love KPIs: +1.1pt vs 1pt target
- In-store value share +8.9pts vs 2018
- 173m impressions from paid & organic media
- In-cinema volume +34% vs previous month
- Significant YoY volume uplift of +27% vs Nov 2018