Read Case Study 14-1: Promoting Coke in South Africa and answer the following questions in an essay format.
1. Evaluate Coke’s market position in South Africa relative to other competitors and other businesses.
2. Evaluate the different types of consumer promotions used in South Africa to increase sales for Coca-Cola South Africa. Are there any types of sales promotions that should not have been used in a country characterized by a wealth gap, with a substantial proportion of the population below the poverty line? Explain.
Your answers must include content and cite reference materials where appropriate. To assist in this requirement, a good rule of thumb is that each answer should be approximately 200 to 250 words in length.
Chapter 14 International Publicity, Public Relations, and Sales Promotion Strategies 417
Case 14-1 Promoting Coke
in South Africa
Coca-Cola just moved its operating group headquarters
from the United Kingdom to Johannesburg,
South Africa, to be closer to target consumers.
Coca-Cola is the largest consumer goods provider
in Africa. To date, the company has grown through
close collaboration with its bottling and retail partners.
Company headquarters have an aggressive
growth plan for the African continent and for
South Africa in particular: With a large percentage
of the population young and dynamic, this market
should be carefully courted.
As part of its efforts to reach this population,
Coke set up the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, in
which the company partners with other organizations
to build sustainable communities on the continent.
To reach young South Africans in particular,
the company hired South African artists that would
appeal to this segment of the population to participate
in a remix of the ‘‘I’d Like to Buy the World a
Coke’’ theme song as a musical montage of reggae,
Kwaito, rap, hip-hop, and hard rock. The ad was
part of the ‘‘Coke Side of Life’’ campaign, and
the theme song was so popular that radio stations
added it to their playlists.
South Africa was Coca-Cola’s first stop on the
African continent in 1928. The company set up
the first bottling and distribution plant in Johannesburg
and has expanded its business in the
country ever since, employing more than 10,000
people. The company’s presence in South Africa
created many more jobs in the country: For
every job created by the production and marketing
of Coke products, 10 additional jobs, on average,
were created in South Africa in related
The Coca-Cola Company sells numerous nonalcoholic
brands to South African consumers.
Among them are Coca-Cola (with its Light and
Vanilla Coke versions), Fanta (with its Orange,
Grape, and Pineapple versions), Sprite, Tab, Sparletta,
Lemon Twist, Schweppes, Mixers, Fresca,
Minute Maid, Powerade, Bibo, Milo, Krest,
Splash, Bonaqua, and Vitango. Its product mix
in South Africa is more extensive than in the
United States because, in South Africa, the company
also bought out a number of popular regional
During its time in Africa, Coca-Cola ran a few
successful promotions. First, in 2002, it hired Riverside
Technologies in Wilton, Connecticut, to
provide ideas on technologic modifications that
would set the brand apart. Riverside came up
with modules that could be inserted into the packaging;
these modules would sing and announce
the winner of a Coke promotion. Consumers
who purchased the winning cans were instant winners
of Panasonic stereo equipment. The winning
cans were filled with carbon dioxide and water,
to replicate the weight and feel of a real can, and
were assembled into the Coke can by Schmalbach-
Lubeca Continental Can in Bonn, Germany.
Fifty talking cans were produced for the promotion
and were distributed nationally. In just the
first month of the promotion, sales of Coke cans
rose by 3.2 percent, Diet Coke cans by 18.6 percent,
and Fanta by 3.8 percent compared with
the previous year. This was in line with the
theme of the promotion, ‘‘This summer only
Coca-Cola talks,’’ literally—and figuratively, in
terms of sales.
Since 2002, Coca-Cola did not have many promotions
that had a similar impact. In the spring of
2004, for example, the company coordinated with
its advertising agencies another promotion that
was not as popular with South African consumers.
The promotion asked them to nominate the most
inspiring person they knew to carry the Olympic
Flame in Cape Town. Distributors were unhappy
that they were not involved in the promotion, and
generally, it was felt that a more aggressive and creative
approach was needed to resuscitate Coke
In early 2006, Coke hired Conceptualise,
South Africa’s leading promotional marketing
specialist, whose area of expertise is the development
and implementation of promotional competitions
and games. The company developed
the Coca-Cola Mega Millions game for the
South African market, which has captivated
South African consumers. Mega Millions had a
game-show format, and it was broadcast live during
prime time on one of South Africa’s top network
channels, SABC 1. In the game, contestants
interacted live to win cars and large cash prizes.
To enter the game, individuals had to purchase
Coca-Cola carbonated drinks, check the label,
and find out if they won a prize. Their number
also qualified them to enter into a pool of candidates
to become a contestant on the live show—a
contestant was drawn during each show from the
pool of potential contestants. The Mega Millions
game was hugely successful, with 22 million
entries over a 4-month period.