A lesson in authenticity….Zero Coke Movement

This campaign is from 2006 but I refer to it a bit and I think it’s very cool.

A guy called Tim Longhurst was wandering down the street one day in Balmain when he spotted a billboard sign saying “Why cant you have a sick of work day” linking to a blog called THEZEROMOVEMENT.com.

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Here’s a quote from the “edgy” zero movement’s website:
“Everywhere you look someone is telling you how to behave, how to act, what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Even life itself seems to come with increasing limits for every year that passes.”

Intrigued by this Tim did not some research and found out that this blog was actually a site by Coke.

Read his blog post about here.

Angered by this in-authentic campaign Tim spent $18 changing the billboard URL to say “Why cant you have a sick of Coke day” and changed the URL and proceeded to put up a site called the Zero Coke Movement. http://www.thezeromovement.org/. The 18 million dollar Coke campaign got canned.

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As a postscript to his blog post he says:
“Within a week of the launch of thezeromovement.org, Coke’s misleading and deceptive campaign was dead. Coke’s defensive strategy involved a re-done, even-more-censored website and an update to the hundreds of billboards they have all over Australia.
I have no doubt Coke would have taken responsibility for the zero movement at some stage. But I have a strong feeling that the timing and tone of Coke’s admission that the zero movement was a frontgroup was to mitigate the public relations disaster that was starting to surface.”
Coke got burnt in trying to create a fake grass roots movement by a grass roots movement.

What is interesting about this is firstly the power that the internet can give everyday people to affect the virtual internet landscape. How people will not accept inauthenticity.
Projects like Wikipedia show that most people approach the internet with some degree of integrity and authenticity and expect the same from brands. As scarey as it sounds.

Brands need to use the opportunity for authenticity to enable relationships with their consumers based on authenticity, integrity and trust.

It’s a relationship involving both risk and trust….

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