A couple of paragraphs further down, the secret formula of Coca Cola will be revealed. Jonathan Mildenhall, Vice-President, Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at The Coca-Cola Company, calls it “liquid content.”
But, before you go any further, I feel that I should issue a warning. If your friends currently consider you too innovative, then don’t read this post. If your boss already thinks you adopt new ideas too quickly, then go watch a couple of other videos.
So, who should read this post and watch the two videos embedded below? Well, as the Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Company said when it launched the Pony Express:
“WANTED. YOUNG, SKINNY, WIRY FELLOWS. NOT OVER 18. MUST BE EXPERT RIDERS. WILLING TO RISK DEATH DAILY. ORPHANS PREFERRED.”
—California newspaper help wanted ad, 1860
Now that my conscience is clear, let’s take a look at Content 2020, which is The Coca-Cola Company’s secret formula for evolving “its approach to the creative agenda on its key brands.”
I was told where this secret formula was hidden in plain sight by Michael Kolowich, who is the Principal Editor of Rich Content Daily. One of the hand-selected articles in Rich Content Daily’s collection is from Joe Pulizzi’s Blog and it’s entitled, “Coca-Cola Bets the Farm on Content Marketing: Content 2020.”
Pulizzi says, “I spent the better part of an hour reviewing the two videos below, and I encourage all marketing professionals (both client and agency side) to set aside 20 minutes to review these two short videos (video one is seven minutes, video two is 10 minutes). It’s that important.”
The first video is entitled, “Coca Cola Content 2020 Part One.” Like the dreaded Isla de Muerta, it’s a video that cannot be found except by those who already know where it is.
The description under both videos says, “The media landscape is a very different beast today than it was even 5 years ago. Then agency-led television commercials dominated how we channel our marketing. The very fact you are reading this here proves that things have changed.”
The description also says Mildenhall “is the person responsible for leading global creative vision and strategy for the Company’s portfolio of global brands. In this video, he explains how Coke will leverage the opportunities in the new media landscape and transform one-way storytelling into dynamic storytelling hoping to add value and significance to peoples’ lives. Jonathan describes the challenge of content creation in an enlightening way, reminding us that ‘every contact point with a customer should tell an emotional story.’”
The second video is entitled, “Coca Cola Content 2020 Part Two.” Oh, and both videos were uploaded to TheCognitiveMedia’s Channel, which is the last place that anyone would look for Coca-Cola’s secret formula for “liquid content.”
Now, Coca Cola has always been at the forefront of marketing innovation. According to Wikipedia, “Coca-Cola’s advertising has significantly affected American culture, and it is frequently credited with inventing the modern image of Santa Claus as an old man in a red-and-white suit.”
So, it’s worth the time to watch closely and listen carefully to Mildenhall’s 10 chapters.
Yes, yes, his vocabulary and accent will remind you of George Bernard Shaw’s observation, “The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.” And you’ll also need a secret decoder ring to translate some of his corporate jargon and advertising Argot.
But Cognitive Media’s storytelling, drawing and animation helped me to discover and learn new stuff.
What kind of stuff?
Well, Chapter 1 answers the question, “How does content excellence approach ‘liquid and linked content development’?”
Chapter 2 makes “the case for change.”
Chapter 3 is about “the evolution of storytelling.”
Chapter 4 is about “Baking Live Positively into our storytelling plans.”
Chapter 5 looks at moving “from insights to provocations. The big fat fertile creative brief.”
Chapter 6, which is in part two, is about “developing liquid content.”
Chapter 7 is about “applying the 70/20/10 investment principles for liquid content.”
Chapter 8 is about “researching liquid content.”
Chapter 9 is about “applying the dollar multiplier to the iterative production process.”
And Chapter 10 ends with “in summary.”
What does this all mean? I’m not entirely sure.
But, Coca-Cola has come a long way since it was invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton. Today, Coca-Cola currently offers more than 500 brands in over 200 countries or territories and serves over 1.6 billion servings each day.
So, when the person responsible for leading global creative vision and strategy for the Company’s portfolio of global brands reveals that the secret formula for Coca-Cola is “liquid content,” then it worth spending some time to figure it out.
Even if you aren’t a young, skinny, wiry fellow anymore. You’re way over 18. You’ve never been an expert rider. You are unwilling to risk death daily. And you’d prefer that your kids don’t become orphans.