If there is one thing I can say for sure after 15 years of marketing big brands, new brands, local brands, and renowned global brands is that consumer is truly in charge now.
This is wonderful for all of us -- as consumers. But we, as marketers, should never ever forget it. By breathing and living this reality into our products or services, we will manage to succeed into this consumer-driven marketplace.
To give you the best example, let me remind you about the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment, back in 2006. If it doesn’t ring a bell, here is the amazing long story short, demonstrating the infinite power of the consumer and the success that surrounds in-tune, smart marketers:
In 2006, some of us saw the Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments by Fritz and Grobe. This video was viewed more than 10 million times -- quite an awesome record!
What do you think was the reaction of Coca-Cola and Mentos to this experiment?
Later that same week, Mentos called to offer support. They said to Voltz: “We love what you're doing, how can we help?" Immediately, Mentos began shipping EepyBird thousands of mints for their experiments. Now this is what I call “in-tune, smart marketing.” Follow what your consumers love and let them have fun with your product. So many other people will follow and your brand’s sales will go through the roof!
Now, Coca-Cola had a different reaction: on June 12, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal: "We would hope people want to drink [Diet Coke] more than try experiments with it." She added, "The craziness with Mentos… doesn't fit with the brand personality of Diet Coke." That summer, Voltz and Grobe received two T-shirts and baseball caps from Coca-Cola, along with a note wishing them well.
This is a screaming example of “out-of-touch-marketing” coming from one of the most well known company in the world. What a shame! What a missed opportunity!
Nevertheless, when a company learns from its own mistakes, we tend to forgive that company for previously being... dumb. So not long after, Coca-Cola decided to change gears and listen to its consumers. On July 9, Coke decided to include on their corporate websites The Coke Show -- a series of user-generated videos created by people who loved Voltz and Grobe’s experiments. Toward the end of summer, Coke and Google approached Voltz and Grobe about a deal. That’s what I call “Good morning, Coca-Cola," and "Yes: the consumer is in charge today, not you."
Is your marketing in tune with your consumer?