Have you ever been so thirsty you could drink a pig? Imagine that you can have delicious bacon with maple syrup and your favorite Coke all in one bottle! If you liked the idea, the new maple bacon flavored Coca-Cola is exactly for you! While it may seem unnatural, bacon-flavored soda is not a new thing. Lester bacon soda and Jones bacon soda enjoy popularity among meat enthusiasts in the US. Moreover, Sap! maple soda is also gaining popularity among maple lovers in the country. Considering that Coca-Cola is a household brand around the globe, the company has all the tools to export the success of maple bacon-flavored soft drinks everywhere.
The present paper offers an advertising and promotional ad campaign for the product line extension of the Coca-Cola Company. The proposed product is maple bacon flavored Coke, which uses natural maple sap with and bacon flavor added to the traditional Coca-Cola recipe. First, environmental analysis is provided with an emphasis on political, economic, social, and technological factors. Second, the paper offers a SWOT analysis of the Coca-Cola Company to understand if the line extension can improve the current performance of the company. Third, a discussion of the consumer decision-making process (consumer behavior) is included. Finally, a media plan is outlined with an analysis of the 4Ps of the marketing mix and provides a media plan.
Environmental analysis includes consideration of political, economic, social, and economic factors that can influence the performance of a new product. Coca-Cola is the world’s leading manufacturer of soft drinks that owns licenses for more than 500 nonalcoholic beverage brands and operates in more than 200 countries (Coca-Cola Company, 2020). Thus, the company needs to comply with all applicable laws in all the countries it is present. The company needs to comply with regulations defining the ingredients that can be used in the products, waste management regulations, as well as consumer laws, discrimination laws, employment laws, and health/safety laws. Recently, global organizations created several campaigns against plastic pollution (General Assembly of United Nations, n.d.). Since the company uses plastic bottles to package the drinks it produces, the company has a high chance of being affected by changes in international policies.
As for the economic factors, the situation is favorable for the Coca-Cola Company. According to Statista (2020a), global consumption of soft drinks is expected to grow steadily after a drop in demand in 2020, associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company may suffer from the growing global competition that can negatively affect the financial performance of the company (Coca-Cola Company, 2020). Moreover, the company may be damaged by the second wave of the pandemic.
One of the social factors that may influence the product line extension is the push towards meat consumption limitation. Greenpeace recently suggested that Europe and other countries need to reduce meat consumption by 71% in ten years to achieve environmental sustainability (Askew, 2020). This factor can have both positive and negative impacts on bacon-flavored beverages, depending on the new product’s positioning. At the same time, global society is becoming increasingly concerned with obesity and sugar consumption (Coca-Cola Company, 2020). This trend may have a positive effect on the new line of products, as it replaces sugar with natural maple sap, which positively affects human health (Maple 3, n.d.). At the same time, the new product may be affected by the trends in current bacon consumption. According to Statista (2020b), per-capita bacon consumption in the US is growing steadily.
Technology is expected to support the development of the new product line. The current trends in automation improve the quality of products and decrease the cost of production. Modern technology also allows the company to create such a complex product as maple bacon flavored Coke. New marketing tools, such as online ads and social media platforms, can help to position the new product to meet the demands of the customers.
Coca-Cola is a household name worldwide, and people of all nationalities and races consume its products. The complete overview of the demographics of people shopping for Coca-Cola products provided by Numerator (2020) is demonstrated in Appendix A. According to demographics snapshot, Coca-Cola is preferred mostly by Hispanics with medium to low income (Numerator, 2020). Coca-Cola products are usually purchased in grocery and convenience stores with large basket size. Customers of all ages shop for the company’s products with similar frequency (Numerator, 2020).
Table 1. Coca-Cola SWOT analysis:
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According to Table 1, the Coca-Cola Company has enough strengths to utilize the opportunities to address its weaknesses and mitigate the impact of global threats. The dominant market share and stable financial performance of the company can help to increase product diversification and address the growing health concerns. At the same time, the company has the capacity to transition to more environment-friendly manufacturing and packaging. Strong brand identity and high customer loyalty will ensure that the company will preserve its market share even if it has to increase the price of the products for the successful transition.
Consumer Decision Making Process
There are five steps of the consumer decision-making process that apply to every purchase a person makes. The process is associated with five steps, including need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase, and post-purchase behavior (Shaw, 2018). The process is visualized in Figure 1 below.
In the case with maple bacon flavored Coca-Cola, the first step is a want rather than need recognition. Even though the beverage satisfies thirst, more often, people do not need to drink the beverage but want to consume it. Hence, the marketing campaign needs to reinforce the want to try the new product. As the new product is controversial, it is very likely that the consumers will look for information from marketing-controlled, such as friends and families, and non-marketing-controlled sources, such as television, social media, and promotions. Therefore, the promotion plan should ensure that all the information about the need product is available for customers.
In terms of evaluation of alternatives, consumers are likely to have three choices: try maple bacon flavored Coke, purchase other Coca-Cola brands, such as Sprite, Fanta, and Dr. Pepper, or buy soft drinks manufactured by other companies. Since the new product has no mass-market alternatives, if the consumers want to drink maple bacon soda, they will choose the new product. Therefore, the promotion campaign needs to focus on stimulating the desire to try the new product and describe the associated values of consuming it. After making the purchase, the customer wants to consume the product and quickly dispose of the packaging. However, due to environmental concerns, the bottle for the new product should include explicit instructions about the recycling of the product. In summary, the consumer behavior associated with the new product rests upon understanding that it is a unique offer that needs to find its customers.
Application of the Marketing Mix
Marketing aims to put the right product “in the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time” (Luenendonk, 2019, para 1). The marketing mix, also known as 4Ps, is a crucial tool that can help realize what a product can offer and plan the promotion plan. The present section discusses four aspects of the marketing mix: product, price, promotion, and place.
Maple bacon-flavored Coke is a unique product in terms of flavor. While many companies offer drinks flavored with bacon, maple, or Coke separately, none of the products offer this unique mix. The new product can provide perceived benefits to different categories of consumers. First, it can be attractive for meat enthusiasts. People who like bacon will most likely decide to try the product as they like the taste. Second, the beverage may draw the attention of vegetarians and vegans. This category of consumers do not eat meat because of the associated violence; however, if they are delivered with a product that tastes like meat but has no animal products in the ingredients, these people will be encouraged to try it. Finally, the product may become popular among health enthusiasts, is it will be made out of maple sap, which is a healthy product. In summary, the primary benefit of the product is the meat-like taste made out of healthy ingredients with no animal products.
The price of the product should be similar to other drinks produced by the company, such as Fanta, Sprite, and Dr. Pepper. The price should not differ from other flavors of Coke, such as Coca-Cola Zero, Cherry Coke, and Vanilla Coca-Cola. The price is one of the primary advantages of the product, as, according to Amazon, all other bacon-flavored drinks have a starting price of $10 per 12 oz. bottle.
The promotion plan will include the most popular types of media channels, including television, online advertisements, social media, and billboards. To achieve maximum awareness about the new product, television promotions should be run on broadcast TV. The billboards should be placed in grocery stores and supermarkets to create a purchase impulse. The billboards will be placed in sections with healthy food. Social media campaigns should feature the most famous Coca-Cola brand influencers, including Emma Poppy Deyes, Emily Canham, and Andrew Henderson. Online advertisements should target the identified audience, which are meat enthusiasts, environmental activists, together with vegetarians and vegans. The promotion should feature the product as a seasonal offer to elevate the desire to try it.
The product will be distributed using the usual distribution network of the company. According to Numerator (2020), the new product should be distributed in dollar stores, gas and convenience stores, as well as grocery and drug stores. The company may choose to offer the new product to vegetarian restaurants as an alternative to animal products. At the same time, it may consider distributing the product in online stores such as Amazon in bulk orders.
Purpose and Goals
The purpose of the media plan is to increase awareness about the new maple bacon flavored Coke and attract new customers to the brand. The media plan needs to utilize the identified strengths of the new product and target the specific audience it can serve. The central characteristic of the new product is its controversy. It unites bacon with vegetarianism, manliness with and mindfulness, and healthiness with Coca-Cola. The identified target audience are meat lovers, vegetarians, and health enthusiasts. The media plan seeks to achieve the following goals:
- Inform the general audience about the new product using broadcast television, billboards, and online advertisements.
- Promote the idea that Coca-Cola can be healthy using social media influencers, such as vegetarian athletes.
- Create a strong association between Coca-Cola and environmental sustainability, as it supports meat without animal products.
Television advertisements are the central part of the promotion plan for maple bacon flavored Coke. The television commercial should feature a male who decided to take care of the environment and his own health. The key adjectives applicable to the person are “manly,” “smart,” “trendy,” and “healthy.” The person may is somewhat similar to the man pictured in Dr. Pepper Ten commercials. Meat enthusiasm is usually associated with manliness, which is often far from being healthy, trendy, and smart. Thus, the persona will be controversial, much like the product. The advertisements should circulate on broadcast TV, as the promotion plan aims at reaching a broad audience.
The second important marketing channel is social media. Since the new product has no analogs, consumers will need reassurance that the new product serves their needs. The social media campaign should feature known Coca-Cola brand influencers together with new ones. The company needs to cooperate with athletes to promote the healthiness of the new product. Most attractive personas are Derrick Morgan from Tennessee Titans, David Carter from Arizona Cardinals, and Kyrie Irving from Brooklyn Nets. These are vegetarian athletes who are manly and concerned about their health, which is a perfect mix for the new product. Social media campaigns should capture all the famous sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Appendix B includes two mockups of Facebook and Instagram posts.
Billboards and Online Advertisements
Online advertisements should aim to inform the general audience about the new product with a link to an official press release about its characteristics and benefits. Online ads should be posted in search engines, YouTube videos, and Amazon eCommerce Platform. The billboards should be put in public places and sections with healthy food in grocery stores to break the common stereotype that Coke is unhealthy.
Maple bacon-flavored Coke is a controversial product that aims to address the identified weaknesses and threats. It has the potential to improve the image of the Coca-Cola Company by creating an association with environmental friendliness and healthiness. The effect can be achieved by applying a mix of old and innovative marketing strategies that can explain the values to the general audience and new segments of customers. However, if the far-reaching goals are not achieved, it is unlikely that the product can have significant adverse effects, as Coca-Cola has high customer loyalty and strong brand identity.
Askew, K. (2020). Is Greenpeace’s call for a 71% cut in meat consumption is too ‘black and white’? Food Navigator. Web.
Coca-Cola Company. (2020). 10-k form 2019. Coca Cola Company: Investors. Web.
General Assembly of United Nations. (n.d.) Plastics. UN.org. Web.
Luenendonk, M. (2019). Understanding the marketing mix concept – 4Ps. Web.
Maple 3. (n.d.). 6 impressive health benefits of maple water. Web.
Numerator. (2020). Coca-Cola. Web.
Parker, B. (2018). Coca-Cola SWOT analysis. Business Strategy Hub. Web.
Shaw, A. (2018). Consumer decision making process. Marketing Tutor. Web.
Statista. (2020a). Soft drinks. Web.
Statista. (2020b). U.S. population: Amount of bacon consumed from 2011 to 2019. Web.
Appendix A. Coca-Cola Demographics
Appendix B. Social Media Mockups