Coca-Cola Helps Walgreens’ Cause

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Coca-Cola Helps Walgreens’ Cause

By April Miller - 09/07/2016
Red Nose Day campaign an example of successful collaboration between brand, retailer

Keynote Address

Path To Purchase Expo

Thursday, Sept. 22 9:00 - 10:00 am

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center – Rosemont, IL

How a Compelling Integrated Marketing Campaign Can Capture the Hearts and Minds of Your Shoppers and Consumers

Retailers and brands – no matter their size or available resources – can collaborate to build successful integrated marketing campaigns that emotionally connect with shoppers while driving brand equity and sales. That will be the message from Coca-Cola Co. executive Ivan Pollard and Walgreens’ Moe Alkemade this month during their Path to Purchase Expo keynote address.

They will share details and best practices from their partnership with nonprofit organization Comic Relief Inc., which brought Red Nose Day to the U.S. in 2015 (it’s been held in the UK since 1988) to use the power of entertainment and silliness to generate funds for children living in poverty. As the exclusive retail partner, Walgreens sells “red flair” merchandise – noses, hats, novelty headbands, oversized sequin bowties, red noses for cars and more. Sales encourage shoppers to “get seriously silly” in support of the cause, and proceeds benefit the Red Nose Day fund, which supports charities such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Save the Children.

Since the campaign is about being happy and having fun to support a worthy cause, “Coca-Cola was a natural fit as a brand synonymous with happiness,” says Alkemade, group vice president and general merchandise manager, Walgreens.

Walgreens and Coca-Cola, a longtime vendor partner of the retailer, both value the relationship. Coca-Cola’s proprietary insights, analytics and additional shopper resources complement the retailer’s shopper knowledge base. Its portfolio of brands as well as the creative, marketing and media assets they bring to the table are additional reasons Coca-Cola is a strong partner, explains Alkemade.

And for the beverage giant, “Walgreens is one of those vital, proactive, energizing and imaginative partners that pushes us, and teaches us, to always try for better,” says Pollard, senior vice president, strategic marketing, Coca-Cola.

No matter the size of the brands and retailers involved in an integrated campaign, when teaming up, the key is combining the best of both their equities, Alkemade says. “Finding the right partner that is equally passionate about your business and driving results is also essential.”

From the beginning of the Red Nose Day campaign, Walgreens, Coca-Cola and Comic Relief have partnered. “We were equal players in creating something that was designed to do good in the world, do good for our people and do good for our respective businesses,” says Pollard. Agencies were also brought in to provide support with design, shopper marketing, research and activation for the nine-week campaign.The key insight for the program was that shoppers respect brands and retailers that are trying to do something good for the world. “We were able to profile these shoppers, cross reference them to Walgreens shoppers and beverage drinkers, and identify when, where and why they would respond to giving back through Red Nose Day,” says Pollard.

The campaign provided shoppers a fun and easy way to support a good cause – and it could be done during one’s regular shopping trip. Social media has increased the promotion’s reach via #RedNose challenges, such as share your four-legged friend’s red nose look or share your red nose landmark photo. Challenge videos were shared weekly as part of Walgreens “50 States, 50 Stories” series. Videos highlighted both people supporting the cause and those benefitting.

The emotional appeal to shoppers led to increased positive brand sentiment for Walgreens and Coca-Cola. “Walgreens was named No. 7 on YouGov’s Mid-Year BrandIndex, making it the only retailer in the top seven,” says Alkemade. “We were also up 10% in a key brand KPI: ‘supports causes I believe in.’”

With Red Nose Day as just one example, during the keynote the two executives will share easy-to-implement principles and best practices that attendees can use to develop their own successful integrated marketing campaigns that drive shopper impact and business results.