Coca-Cola and sports - partnership through competition
A Coca-Cola Great Britain case study

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Page 2: A natural fit

When consumers make a purchasing decision, they consider a range of aspects of the product which make up what is often referred to as 'The product concept.' Products are not just purchased to meet a single need; the ownership and use of a product involve a whole range of factors that make up the product concept. For example, it may appear that a couple choose to holiday in the West Indies because they are attracted by the sand, sun and surf.

However, when questioned further, it may come to light that they are more concerned with the 'image' which they present - friends, associates and 'significant others' will become aware that they are able to afford to holiday in the West Indies. Holidaying in the West Indies is associated with a particular lifestyle. In the public's imagination it may represent being rich and able to afford exotic things.

When we examine the 'product concept' of a soft drink, then we need to consider the wider elements which attract consumers. Clearly the key benefits of a soft drink are that it quenches thirst and that it is refreshing. However, there are other 'sensual dimensions' which are equally important and lead us to choose one drink rather than another. These sensual dimensions include its colour, taste, smell, texture, appearance and the design of the packaging in which it is presented.

In addition, there are other dimensions which are equally important such as the 'image' associated with the product and the 'image' of the company which produces the product. Consumers will prefer those products which have a strong positive image. An important ingredient of this image will be the association that the product evokes.

There are a number of products which are closely associated with particular events or occasions. Obvious examples are:

  • Strawberries and cream at Wimbledon
  • Popcorn and ice cream at the theatre or cinema
  • Beer and skittles evenings at the local pub, etc.

It makes sound marketing sense to build on these associations and this is exactly what Coca-Cola has done in the sports arena. In this case study therefore we have set out to highlight Coca-Cola's association with sports by focusing on:

  • The Olympic Games
  • Football
  • Tennis
  • Special Olympics

The relationship which Coca-Cola has with sport seeks to advance the development of sport overall and to help make sporting competitions possible by supporting events for the participation and pleasure of athletes and spectators. At the same time, the Company benefits from its association with sports in several key ways:

  • Its image is enhanced through association with prestigious sporting events.
  • Promotions and other marketing tie-ins with sports and sporting events have a widespread consumer appeal.
  • The Coca-Cola trademark is highly visible at appropriate venue sites and through promotional activity.
  • Products are sold at major sporting occasions to millions of consumers.

Coca-Cola Great Britain | Coca-Cola and sports - partnership through competition