Q & A

Diet Coke Takes on Burgeoning Mobile Market With New Cross-Platform Event Campaign

By Amalie Drury December 18, 2008, 11:13 AM EST

Digital Broadcasting Group's Duke Nguyen

Photo: Courtesy of Duke Nguyen

New York-based Digital Broadcasting Group recently partnered with Diet Coke's brand team and Coca-Cola's media team to launch Style Series presented by Diet Coke. The integrated multimedia branding effort tapped into its target demographic by enlisting singer Robin Thicke and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley for a live event that was broadcast in Times Square on December 9.

DBG director of marketing Duke Nguyen, who spearheaded the campaign's marketing and publicity, recently told us about the project, how Diet Coke gets more life from the Style Series' online home, and how digital media breakthroughs are changing marketing.

How did Diet Coke and DBG come to partner on this campaign?
We approached Diet Coke’s online media agency back in March and supplied them with an idea. It was a show called “the Live Concert Series,” and in a nutshell, it was the infancy of the Style Series. The Diet Coke team forwarded the information to Coca-Cola media and the Diet Coke brand team, and they thought it was perfectly relevant to their marketing program and branding goals.

How did you settle on a campaign that centers on fashion and entertainment?
It was more about DBG presenting the live stream series to Diet Coke and Coca-Cola. We pitched our concept and they sort of ran with it. At first we had the music angle in mind, but after we began speaking and working with Diet Coke and learning more about the style and sophistication elements they wanted to connect to the brand, our approach evolved. We shifted from a total music focus to a combined fashion and music focus.

What makes this campaign different from other marketing efforts Diet Coke has undertaken in the past?
It’s a new way of associating a brand with content that’s relevant to the audience. In doing so, we leveraged the digital, outdoor, and mobile platforms and combined them all into one program that puts a stake in the ground where no one ever had before. During the live program, when we had the video streaming on the big TV screens in Times Square, we had a toll-free number on the screen that allowed people who were looking up and watching it live to call in and hear Robin Thicke’s interview and performance and Cynthia Rowley’s interview later on in the day.

Now that the live simulcast is over, viewers can find the Webisodes on dietcoke.com. They can view them on a video player and share them with their friends on MySpace, Facebook, etc.

What's the plan to give the event continued life in the media?
It’s a long-term plan that includes videos sent out via [our] video network, which consists of 2,600 sites and properties that get 105 million unique visitors per month. We target roughly 75 sites within the network to run the live stream and the episodic network. [We also run the live stream on sites including] Yahoo, People.com, InStyle.com and many more. It was a very targeted campaign online that will be ongoing over the course of the next few months.

Who is the target audience?
Diet Coke was looking for that “style and sophistication angle,” so the age group we were targeting was 18 to 34. More specifically we were targeting a sweet spot of adults ages 24 to 25. Robin Thicke appeals to the lower part of the age group, and Cynthia Rowley reaches the upper part of the demographic.

How did you determine which talent to align with the style series?
There were no focus groups—it was more of an internal discussion. After we decided on the fashion and music focus, we went back and forth on talent and ended up with Robin and Cynthia. We had a talent wish list that we presented to Diet Coke, and they agreed that Robin Thicke, being a very up-and-coming artist, would appeal to the younger audience. And Cynthia is a seasoned designer with more than 20 years of cachet, so those two together helped us appeal to a broader audience.

Do you see the style series potentially evolving into an annual series with different themes or talent each year?
[The Robin Thicke and Cynthia Rowley event] is the first of three events, and the next two will both take place in the first quarter of '09. As of right now, we’re very happy with the first set of the Style Series. We hope to move forward with a second annual series, but we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch.

What do you think might be the next breakthroughs in digital media?
We distribute video online in short-form, long-form, and branded entertainment. The branded element is in its very nascent forms online right now, so it’ll be exciting to see how it takes off. We’re just excited to be a part of something like the Diet Coke series. It’s not just digital, but a cross-platform strategy that everyone needs to be taking a look at. Couple it with the burgeoning mobile market, outdoor, and mass television, and we’re taking a multimedia approach and creating an integrated campaign that addresses the sifting consumption habits of today’s audience. People are sitting there switching around and looking at all different types of screens all at once in their daily lives. So it’s exciting to see how the market will be integrating that approach.

Correction: The text previously identified Yahoo, People.com, and InStyle.com as part of DGB's network and has been corrected.

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