Coke Card Web site courts Net-savvy teens with focus on usability

The right start gets to the right finish. That's one of Cossette Interactive's mantras, says Shari Walczak, VP and general manager.
And it's one of the factors she attributes to the success of the agency's bronze-winning campaign for Coca-Cola Canada.

The right start gets to the right finish. That’s one of Cossette Interactive’s mantras, says Shari Walczak, VP and general manager.

And it’s one of the factors she attributes to the success of the agency’s bronze-winning campaign for Coca-Cola Canada.

‘Usability was a big component of what we did – we spent a lot of time on the site architecture, before we even went to creative,’ she says, of the Canadian soft drink giant’s Coke Card interactive program to appeal to teens 12-19. (Older males were likely to be the more frequent and heavy Coke Card user.)

Coke’s goal was to develop a campaign around a usable Coke Card Web site, while supporting the overall Coca-Cola brand positioning. The company wanted the Web site to focus on delivering up-to-date, regionally specific Coke Card offer information. In addition, the site was to serve as a vehicle to begin building a database of customers for future (permission-based) relationship-building activity, she says.

The campaign’s objectives were to gather information from online users for future programs and increase user sessions by 100% from year 2000 results; generate a database of 10% to 15% of site visitors who are interested in future communication; improve conversion rate from user session to registrant to 10% to 15%; enhance utility and value of the Coke Card among teens; and use the site as a testing and learning opportunity to set benchmarks for future initiatives.

Cossette Interactive designed the site with a dynamic database, allowing site visitors to register for a customized experience (personalized greeting, relevant offers, etc.) while permitting Coke to capture more detailed information about these registrants. Some of the specific features of the site included weekly online contests and weekly dynamic polls designed to generate repeat visits. Bi-weekly refresh of all regional offers (up to 150 each time) through a customized administration tool (developed by Cossette Interactive), e-mail notification of new deals, plus a flash-based demo of the Coke Card program were also part of the Web site campaign.

‘The contest/promotion element was phenomenal – every time we sent out an e-mail alert we would see a spike in traffic to the site,’ says Walczak. ‘And the great thing is how many people actually signed up to be part of the database. Coke has been able to use that database for the launch of a subsequent site (Coke Auction).’

The interface represents a more youthful, edgy side to the Coke brand while clearly incorporating visual elements of the Coke Card for visual consistency.

The site was based on a three-tiered architecture that used Flash 4, HTML and JavaScript to allow for the creation of a dynamic, immersive environment for a younger Web-savvy audience.

‘We had to have a part that could be updated all the time – the offers are different across the country and some are only two weeks at a time. So there was an underlying database, separate from the Flash component. Different tiers of technology working together,’ she says.

User sessions were increased by 120%, with 22% of visitors opting in to receive ongoing communication from Coke. Walczak adds that the site did in fact serve as a benchmark for future initiatives: Web site questions/polls, for example, identified useful anecdotal and directional information on teen behaviour, interests and expectations.

Judges’ comments

‘An ambitious program that is executed very nicely. They have developed a strong strategic foundation that can be used to enhance and integrate a lot of different tactics. The only thing that held me from giving it a higher rating was I couldn’t see the e-mail creative, strategy and schedule.’