Popcorn!! Peanuts!! Crackerjacks!!

I like watching cooking channels. I never plan to watch them, but when I’m browsing through TV channels I quite often stop on some cooking show. I myself am able to make a decent sushi (decent being used loosely) and my corn-flakes preparing skills are second to none (fact!). But even with that resume I can’t be called “good in the kitchen”.

I also remember sometime ago reading an article (can’t remember where) in which the author (can’t remember who) said how he or she hates when people describe themselves as someone who “likes to eat tasty food and drink tasty drinks”. According to that author, that is a non-information, since every human being likes “to eat tasty food and drink tasty drinks”. Before reading that I never thought about it, but I wholeheartedly agreed.


Since everybody likes to eat quality food and drink quality beverages, in my opinion food related content will have good reception as long as human race exists.

“We’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become. The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure – so the humbler we are, the bigger we are. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand.”

The Biggest of Brands Launches a Massive Campaign

With the start of this year, a massive sport year that includes Euro 2016 and the Olympic Games, company with long history of sports sponsorship and one of the biggest brands in the world, Coca-Cola, decided to make a significant shift in its marketing strategy.

Coca-Cola announced that for the first time ever, all of their trademark brands will participate in one single global campaign called “Taste the Feeling.”

This “united” approach was launched by Coca Cola’s chief marketing officer Marcos de Quinto, who explains their thought process behind this decision:

“We’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become. The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure – so the humbler we are, the bigger we are. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand.”

“Taste the Feeling” campaign will be based on visual storytelling, using the amazing images shot by fashion photographers Guy Aroch and Nacho Ricci. Every one of these images contains a common theme, a familiar Coca-Cola icon – like its famous glass bottle or red bottle cap.

One of the parts of “Taste the Feeling” campaign is the sponsorship of Euro 2016. Since I remember, Coca Cola always offered fan focused activities during massive tournaments, and this time the strategy is to offer more fan-focused activities than ever before. Don’t worry, Coca Cola will, of course, once again use its very well tested marketing strategy – giving their customers free tickets for matches and other prizes.


Since Coca Cola’s strategy is fan-centered and based on humble approach, the goal for Euro 2016 will be to make a “simple act of drinking” any Coca-Cola product a memorable experience for fans.

And now we come to the interesting part, part that will remove the “?”  that “floats” above your head, ever since you read the intro of this article.

Excusez-moi, serveur? What Would You Suggest With Coca Cola?

Let’s go straight to the point: Huge part of Coca Cola’s Euro 2016 campaign will be based on food recipes. This strategy is already tested by other brands, especially small breweries. These will not be just some random recipes. Coca Cola will enable football fans during Euro 2016 to find the suggested recipes that form a perfect combination with their products. These combinations will maximize the enjoyment of both parts of the meal, food and Coca Cola beverage. Alongside recipes on Coca Cola’s website and official social media profiles, these recipes will appear on SimplyTastly smart phone app.

Leendert den Hollander, vice president and general manager of Coca-Cola Enterprises, explained how this idea came to life after realization that 58% of UK citizens find their food recipe solutions online.

This might just be one of those facts we were all somewhat aware of, but don’t really think about.


of UK citizens find their food recipe solutions online

This was not the first time Coca Cola published food recipe recommendations. A while back Coca Cola created a page dedicated to food recipes from around the globe, but those recipes didn’t create a link between Coca Cola products and those recipes.

Now they do.

It’s not hard to see how this is related to Euro 2016. Whenever there is a massive sport tournament many TV shows make a themed show. The same applies to cooking shows. Coca Cola food recipes will be chosen the same way, inspired by national cuisines of teams that participate in the Euro 2016.


Percentage of content Coca-Cola marketer has control of

“You have to accept that reality and tap into it to succeed”


Since we live in the year 2016, this campaign will exist on social media, as well as on Coca Cola’s website and TV. Coca Cola plans to turn to social media and encourage people to suggest their own recipes. Knowing how different social media platforms are, and how they can be used in different ways, it is easy to see how this campaign offers a great deal of different approaches on each social media platform. I wouldn’t be surprised if this campaign produces new social media campaigning trends that will in the future become general knowledge for social media marketing experts.


Mr. Den Hollander added one related and very interesting fact. He said that the Coca Cola has finally made their peace with the fact that a marketer only has control of about 10% of the content, while customers themselves generate the rest of the content.

He finishes his thought:

“You have to accept that reality and tap into it to succeed”

This sums up the power of social media so well that I don’t have to find my way to finish this paragraph.

Greater Good is a Long Game

Coca Cola started to offer recipes on its website for one other reason, also. As many other companies do, Coca Cola also tries to find a way to promote healthier lifestyle in a combination with their product.

“We’re not the cause of the obesity crisis but a solution.”


Leendert Den Hollander (just to remind you, he is vice president and general manager of Coca-Cola Enterprises) addressed this issue and clarified Coca Cola’s role in promotion of healthier lifestyle:

“We’re not the cause of the obesity crisis but a solution.”

With increased awareness of sugar worldwide, last year in the UK Coca Cola started to change its marketing strategy. It was the all-brands-one-campaign strategy, that grew into “Taste the Feeling” campaign. Coca Cola changed its approach because, by the year 2020, they have the ambition to generate more than 50% of their sales in the UK from lower and no calorie products.

This goal can’t be reached without campaign designed in the same direction. So, at this point in time we can only wait as see if using the Euro 2016 campaign to make a stronger link between the Coca Cola brand and healthy food will make their goal for 2020 closer.

Healthy Food and Sport

Even though healthy food and sports were not strongly linked in the past, this started to change.

HungryFan Mobile App was launched in November of 2013. Even though its name doesn’t leave much to the imagination I will describe this app properly, as it deserves. HungryFan app helps the fans in their quest for food and beverages during the game, minimizing the time fans spend away from their seat with their eyes away from the action. This app collects in one place menus from concessions, bars and kiosks at over 70 sports arenas in North America. Of course, not every fan is lucky enough to watch his or her team live, so HungryFan offers Sports Bar Radar, which helps the fans to find the best sports bars with or without team affiliation in North America.

Hungry Fan is led by celebrity cook Daina Falk, who is also daughter of super-agent David Falk. “Sport” upbringing helped Daina to gain knowledge of sports business. She combined her passion and understanding of sports, media and food to create this app that attempts to serve every fan’s healthy hunger-preventing needs.

Joe Favorito, strategic communications, marketing, business development and public relations expert, spoke to Daina Falk about HunryFan and published the interview on his website.

In that interview Daina Falk described HungryFan’s purpose and origin story:

The ultimate goal of Hungry Fan is to curate Game Day for sports fans–whether they’re at home, in the parking lot, at a sports bar or in the stadium–all in ONE place. No more surging from one site to the next. Now, everything you need for Game Day is on one place.


I lost 60 lbs but was unwilling to give up my favorite Game Day eats. So I started making them myself and making them healthier (I studied Nutrition for 3 years and read voraciously about it today…still). People began asking me for my recipes, noting how amazed they were I was able to keep the weight off despite my love for that kind of food. So I ran with it and here I am today.”

She also pointed out another merit that HungryFan offers to both its owners but also sport franchises, data:

Hungry Fan App has one audience but two uses. The app helps hungry & thirsty sports fans find what to eat or drink so they don’t miss too much of the game. Their usage of the app provides me with invaluable data about their behavior and preferences, who they are, where they’re attending sporting events, etc., This data is valuable to teams as well, who share the same audience.”

To conclude, Mrs. Falk explains her understanding of present state of food industry:

“I see the food industry as being where sports was 20 years ago. It’s only going to get bigger. Furthermore, I think focusing on the regional/local side of it is so interesting and important. I like to provide recipes that are unique to the towns or regions from where they hail. I think this makes Game Day more interesting and enables my users/“fansumers” to feel like they’re the expert on Game Day “

Wise Ancient Romans Said “Bread and Circuses” (panem et circenses)

Ancient Romans knew that people are happy when you entertain them and feed them. Thankfully, we have evolved and our entertainment now is far less barbaric than it was in Ancient Rome, but we are still humans. We like, not, LOVE to be entertained and feed! It makes us happy! And happy customer or fan is the ultimate goal for every marketing campaign.



Tomislav Žarković

Tomislav Žarković

If you have any questions about sports marketing, feel free to contact me at tomislav.zarkovic@gmail.com

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