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I just came across this new Coca-Cola event, Expedition 206, that will be part of Coke’s “Open Happiness” campaign. It caught my eye because right after reading the first sentence, I wanted to know how I could be part of this amazing offer. Until I realized the teams were already selected, I was considering doing whatever it takes to be part of this experience. Sadly, the teams have already been assembled and it’s now up to the public to vote for which team will partake in this year long journey.
So in a nut shell, there are 3 teams of 3 bloggers who will be sent on a expedition around the world to help uncover new insights of “what really makes people happy.” It’s an all expense paid trip to hit 206 countries in 365 days! How ridiculous is that! A account planner’s dream come true to be honest.

“In January 2010, a team of three travelers will begin an unprecedented journey. A mission. An expedition. A quest to visit in 365 days 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold. These three travelers are more than mere explorers–they are Happiness Ambassadors, and they will seek and share the optimism and happiness of Coca-Cola from Aruba to Zimbabwe and everywhere in between. They will participate in some amazing events including the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in Shanghai.”
I’m so extremely jealous.

This method of sending “Happiness Ambassadors,” is a clever way to connect (via social media) with the world all the while having the team subtly spread the coke philosophy. It’s a way to tell a story that embodies the elements of what Coke stands for without the brand being the center of focus.
If you think about it, what better way to do a planners job than to select a few determined, voracious contestants to draw and generate their own publicity by uncovering a human truth of what truly makes people happy, while attempting to uncover new means to connect with Coke consumers worldwide.
Not only will this adventure be monitored through social media platforms, but be followed by those who would love to live vicariously through these travelers.
This approach reminds me of what I’ve actually mentioned in a previous post from one of the chapters in “Eating the Big Fish.” One of the Credo’s mentioned for a successful challenger brand is to approach the market with an untouched viewpoint where new opportunities and ideas can evolve. Although Coke is not a challenger brand, but a Brand leader, the use of having a fresh pair of eyes or innocent perspectives to see from the consumer’s point of view will afford them another means to maintain their leading position. They may not be using this method to change their industry edge, but to gain fresh perspectives for how they could stay connected with all consumers through this rapidly changing age.
Coke has always been about bringing the consumer joy, optimism, and happiness through their product. Why not build a campaign/event around their mission, have their values work for them. Now the world becomes their focus group, and the consumers’ responses will not be altered by the confinements of 4 walls and a reflective mirror, but by the comforts of their own surroundings. Diving into the crowds of the world’s largest events, from the World Cup to the Olympics, it’ll be the consumers, in their united and ecstatic element, providing the brand answers for what they represent. Using the digital era and applying a humanistic spin, integrating post-digital with social media is always a winner.
Coke 1, challengers 0. Although I’m still a Dr. Pepper fan.

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3 Comments

  1. Jonathan, you’re right, this is an amazing experience and I am lucky to be a part of it as a member of The Mix, one of the three teams vying for the golden opportunity.

    I think that the best part about this is that we will be giving, as well as receiving, the gift of happiness along this incredible journey.

    I really enjoyed the read. Thank you for spreading the word Jonathan.

    -Tony Martin

    • Not sure if this is actually Tony because your email says alfonzo.johnson. But if you are, to be honest, I didn’t actually vote before your comment, but because of your attentiveness to other bloggers, you’ve earned my vote. But from the look of it, you’re doing just fine. I was wondering, how did you even come across this opportunity and how did you apply?? Best of luck, Jon

  2. Hi Tony! fancy seeing you here!

    Nice to meet you Jonathon, I really enjoyed your post; as it was not just the press release but your own thoughts. Perhaps is Tony earned your vote on Sunday, Team WOW! can earn it on Tuesday! If not, well thanks for the positive post about the project!

    The thing I am most looking forward to if our team is selected; is engaging with people from so many different cultures and backgrounds and hopefully creating a happy memory with them.

    Cheers! Greer


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