Cannes Report – From Profit To Purpose: Marketing can change the world (Coca Cola Case)

Today we would like to share one of the main lessons we’ve learned during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Peopleizers was part of a delegation – the BW Lions – from Baden-Wuertemberg which travelled to Southern France to represent the creative scene of Stuttgart. We were a mixed group of agencies, photographers, film-makers and officials who departed for the so-called “Liaison des Lions”. Besides being present and attending interesting seminars and networking events, we did host a special “120 min party”. Business partners, friends and new acquaintances were invited to join us and start a conversation with the representatives.

One of the sessions we did attend had the title “Work that matters” by The Coca Cola Company. We picked this session as it reflects a lot of the values that we as a company believe in. We accompany our clients on their way into the new age of business. It is the journey from Wall Street to Love Street, as Lefti likes to call it.

In the After-Cannes Report event we’ve presented the Coca Cola case which we want to share with you now. You can find the original presentation with the title From Profit To Purpose: Marketing Can Change The World here.

Key Take Aways:

  • Consumers are human beings with basic human needs (see Maslow’s Pyramide of Needs). Once they have secured their basic needs they long for a more meaningful life eventually leading to self actualization.
  • Consumers have higher expectations towards brands and products. “They don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”, as Simon Sinek explains it in his book Start With Why.
  • Human kind is presented with a great opportunity to move “From Wall Street To Love Street” where business decision are not based solely on profit, but on the greater good.
  • Coca Cola is one of the most valuable brands in the world, they are present in every single country in this world – except Cuba and North Korea, they have a huge brand presence and media budget many other companies dream of, they have won their first Cannes Lions in 1967 and collected over 100 Lions overall. This year they also won the “Marketer Of The Year” award.
  • Coca Cola moved from Creative Excellence to Content Excellence in the past years and they made no secret of it. They had a pretty good run – particularly in new/social media with a thriving community, dynamic content and the ongoing brand dialogue lately.
  • When looking back at the past decades of advertising- Coca Cola as a brand went against convention to challenge racial divides, gender stereotypes and shining a light on issues and causes that truly matter. They believed in the truly profound effect creativity can have to inspire real behavior change. It’s about the simple fact that provoking happiness in big and small ways really does matter.
  • We have seen examples such as the first Afro-American model in a Coca Cola ad in the midst of segregation, different races sitting together on a segregation bench sharing a coke or a multi-cultural choral singing for more harmony just after the Vietnam War – just to name a few.
  • Coca Cola share their 9 principles defining “work that matters”:

    1. Straddle Borders
    2. Challenge Racial Prejudice
    3. Defy Gender Stereotypes
    4. Be Stubbornly Optimistic
    5. Promote Real World Stories
    6. Give People Reasons to Believe
    7. Don‘t Be Serious All The Time
    8. Take A Social Stand
    9. Remember The Greater Good

Conclusion: One can clearly argue if Coca Cola is authentic with this approach when they still sell some of the most unhealthy drinks in the world. However, we have to acclaim their effort of claiming their social responsibility. Today’s consumers are ready to go beyond rational purchasing behavior. They long for more meaningful brand experiences and are attracted by brands like Coca Cola with a bigger cause. Brands who walk this path create a magnetic pull effect which eventually leads to more success.

How about you? Do you go beyond price and features when it comes to choosing one product/ brand over another?


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