The Amazing Paradox of Negative PR for Coca Cola

Most people would agree that any PR is good PR; however, I don’t think I was the only one thinking that Coca-Cola did NOT see it coming on February 3rd 2014 - the day after the Superbowl final. I kept thinking that the brand is damaged, that sales would be affected negatively, and that some heads are probably rolling within TCCC (The Coca-Cola Company) in Atlanta. A simple piece of pre-advertising research could have told them that some people in the US are so patriotic, or perhaps we can even use the word racist, that they felt offended by the fact that people of other ethnicities were singing ‘America the Beautiful’ in their own language as opposed to English. All hell broke loose on Twitter and other social media platforms immediately after the ad was aired and continued for the following days and weeks.

Click here to download a free Coca-Cola Superbowl ad case study

We had initially harvested the posts with the intention of publishing a blog post showcasing eListen’s sentiment accuracy of over 85%; however since this wasn’t a paying project it kept falling to the bottom of the priority list to process, analyse, and create some content around it. Our thought was to use the approach “sales by fear”; we wanted to tell all the brands out there that they need to be constantly “listening” to online chatter about themselves and their competitors in order to be able to handle situations as they arise. They should not allow their brands to be at risk of negative PR and loss of brand equity, something potentially catastrophic in real business terms.

According to DigitalMR’s findings during the 8 days prior to the Superbowl, there were 139,997 posts about Coca-Cola in the English language; 22% Negative, 7% Positive and 71% Neutral. During the 8 days following the airing of the ad, the number increased by 169% to 376,382 posts. The interesting fact here is that although the number of posts increased by 169% after the campaign airing, the amount of negative posts still accounted for 22% of the total while positive posts jumped to 51%.

If you want to find out more about what really happened, and what the actual effect of the campaign was, please click here to download a slide deck with our findings, and stay tuned for the upcoming eBook on ‘The Positive Effect of Negativity’.

 

 




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