I'm surprised at how little I hear about The Coke Show marketing initiative, especially the early part of it. It should be written up in a text book (maybe it was). In a nutshell, before Coke decided to embrace the "Mentos-Coke" fountain—they tried to create their own contest. It was a flashy microsite that went something like this:
“as of this week, visitors to Coke.com can take part in "The Coke Show," monthly "challenges" testing their creativity.
In the first challenge, set to run through August, users are
invited to submit short videos, but they're not limited to creating ads
or odes to the brand. Instead, Coke is asking for 45-second video
expressions of "the essence of you." Visitors will rate submissions,
culling them down to 10, which will be judged by a group of
Ultimately, The Coke Show went away while people still talk about the "Coke Mentos Fountain" like it was yesterday. And Coke ended up eventually joining the movement.
What does this have to do with blood?
Well, at SXSW my friend Chris Bernard moderated a panel titled "The Web Agency: There Will Be Blood". I wish I were on the panel. Garrick Schmitt of Avenue A/ Razorfish (owned by Microsoft) recently did a writeup of the panel where he had this to say:
"I took some good natured ribbing on this last point from my fellow panelists — clearly I was the “Poindexter” of the group. But, hey, given the rate of industry change — and the ongoing evolution of technology (witness the new YouTube APIs released today) — I still believe we have to embrace the complex and scary if we are to reap the benefit of the medium. To not keep up, well, that’s when we’ll see blood"
My guess is that Garrick's observation had something to do with his earlier comment about data driven design. But he's right. The reason why agencies who play in the digital space may end up being bled is because much of what they do is at odds with home grown social experiences. Like the Coke Show and more infamously Bud.TV, many agencies want to create highly produced big budget experiences that rival the TV budgets that have fed the traditional agencies for years.
But there's a problem. As the multi million dollar BUD.TV. underscores—highly produced content and slick production don't necessarily equal traffic. Unlike the television medium which is less accountable—digital is measurable in every way possible. Which means if the traffic, clicks, views and time spent isn't there—then it's time to put the effort to rest.
And that's where there will be blood. Every time I come across digital properties with Hollywood level production and price tags—I have to wonder how the stats compare to blogs and social applications that can be developed for a fraction of the cost. How much did it cost the creators of the Coke Mentos fountain to create their video? To distribute it?
Sometimes I have to wonder if "digital marketing" and social media are at complete odds. Will there be blood? If so, I think it will be the metrics that does the cutting.