Chances are you’ve probably heard about and most likely seen one of hundreds of videos featuring the fun that’s possible with Diet Coke and Mentos.
The recent video featuring a choregraphed, fireworks-like display of Diet Coke and Mentos was so wonderfully over the top that it caused the experiment to go mainstream last week with features all over the traditional media.
And did you see how each company reacted to this meme of free marketing?
Mentos: “We are tickled pink by it,” says Pete Healy, vice president of marketing for the company’s U.S. division. The company spends less than $20 million on U.S. advertising annually and estimates the value of online buzz to be “over $10 million.”
Coke: “We would hope people want to drink [Diet Coke] more than try experiments with it,” says Coke spokeswoman Susan McDermott. She adds that the “craziness with Mentos … doesn’t fit with the brand personality” of Diet Coke.
It’s pretty easy to tell which company spends far too much on advertising.
Bonus link: Sales of Diet Coke are down.
UPDATE (7/1/06): Mentos looks like they going to capitalize on all the buzz with a user-created video contest. (Thanks, BharleyB)
Now, when do you think companies will understand that the word BRAND means “how your product or service is perceived by your customer”. It doesn’t mean “how you present your naff product is accepted unequivocally by your dopey customer”, does it? We control the brand. Us. If we see Nike as a Just Do It product, cool. If we see ’em as sweatshop fiends, not cool. But we the consumer control how we value a brand. Not the marketing guys. Oh and try telling Volksawagon that – they just didn’t get the whole user gen Polo ads thing, did they?