Coca Cola trials Norwegian beacons

In a pilot scheme run in May and June this year Coca-Cola teamed up with Norwegian publisher VG, using VG’s app to offer a free drink to consumers as they walked through the foyer of selected cinemas, the offer being triggered by beacons.

While the use of beacons has come back into fashion, as they can bring context and precision to promotions, there are still concerns that if they are used in isolation, they add little to the brand mix. Coca-Cola’s trial however, was part of a much larger location based trial, and the results were interesting.

Data collected by the beacon was stored anonymously on ad platform Unacast (which raised £1.6 million in April 2015), to allow retargeting of those that redeemed the offer with a free cinema ticket at a later date.

The numbers from the test were strong, 24 per cent of app users clicked on the offer and half of those then went on to claim their free drink. When the retargeting campaign launched a week later almost 60 per cent clicked on the advert offering them a free Cinema ticket courtesy of Coke, and half of these respondents returned to the cinema to claim their ticket.

According to VG, the key to this campaign was the piggy-backing off a popular and well used app rather than creating a bespoke app for the purpose. It provided a promotional experience that allowed Coke to build a more rounded customer profile tying online to offline via beacon technology.

Creating bespoke apps have been an obstacle for advertisers as they try to convince people to use them on a regular basis. Knut Anders Thorset, senior manager of digital sales and marketing at Coca-Cola Enterprises Norway, said: “This trial proves that beacons enable brands like Coke to use existing media channels in new ways. The hyper-relevance beacons provide ensures that we can amplify our role and deliver something of real value to both retailers and consumers.” He added, “We look forward to the results from a further roll out.”

A wider rollout of the campaign across 110 Nordic cinemas is being discussed for later this year. Similar tests could also extend to other regions with Coca-Cola Enterprises already experimenting with beacons in the UK last summer, and the main business has also conducted trials in its Atlanta homeland. For Coke, technology like this represents a chance to start to understand its customers more clearly, an appetising prospect given it has limited into who is actually buying the brand and how.