Do things go better with "advergaming?" Coca-Cola, touted as the world’s best brand, seems to be saying yes.
Advergaming is where advertising meets gaming, and Coke is set to woo lakhs of youths in a new marketing initiative set to catch on as Internet penetration and mobile phone proliferation increase in the economy.
Coca-Cola India sources said the company will soon launch ‘Coca-Cola Speed Jamming,’ in which youths across the country will network and play electronic games with each other, using the code division multiple access technology (CDMA) platform offered by Reliance Communications Ltd and Tata Indicom.
"The first of its kind innovation has been specially designed to leverage the power of digital technology. The initiative gives the youngsters an ideal opportunity to both socially connect and also interact with like-minded people," said Kashmira Chadha, Coca-Cola India’s director, marketing.
Currently, there are more than 36.15 million mobile customers who use mobile phones functioning on CDMA technology, which its supporters say has reached level of quality for broadband content that enables cool games that can be used to target young consumers.
"We have successfully combined the merits of advertising with our gaming know-how to promote some of the leading brands in the market today," said Chirag Desai, group account manager at Jump Games, which provided back-end support for Coke’s new plan with game design and development.
Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL), which owns the Indicom brand, had 11.4 million mobile customers while RCL had 24.6 million mobile customers as on March 31.
While there are no recorded estimates available of subscribers classified as youths, about 20 to 25 per cent of mobile subscribers worldwide are usually in the 17 to 25 year age group.
"We are in the advanced stage of finalising the deal with TTSL," said an official of Coca-Cola. TTSL and RCL officials declined comment.
Among the cola major’s marketing blitz initiatives are freebees for participating consumers, such as in a hunt for the "Coolest Couple" in the country which would span across five cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Pune.
The country’s Internet user base is estimated at around 40 million now, and estimated to touch 50 million by 2008. As penetration grows, Internet and mobile broadband offer marketing opportunities, say industry officials. About 10 per cent of users are active on social networking in which users find people who shares tastes and activities on the Internet.
About 45 per cent of active Web users have been to online social networking sites, according to a recent study by Nielsen/ NetRatings.
Coke plans to leverage it website, www.myenjoyzone.com, which has four lakh registered users in the 19 to 24 age group.