Inspiring #OpenUp Moments with Coca-Cola in the Middle East

Ramadan is essentially the Super Bowl of the Middle East. It’s the single busiest marketing time in the Muslim world. Companies typically dedicate 20% of their annual media spend to the month of Ramadan. Shortened work hours and decreased energy as a result of fasting leads to an influx of online media consumption. In fact, time spent online increases by 35% and social media usage increases by 30%.

Coca-Cola wanted to show their commitment to their Muslim consumers by launching a regionally relevant Ramadan campaign that would break through the clutter and create a meaningful dialogue. First, we needed a social insight.

Expectations are something Arabs live with every day. They’re expected to be engineers, doctors or lawyers, just like their fathers. They’re expected to be formal around their elders, even their own grandparents. Sometimes, they’re even expected to marry someone their parents have chosen for them. With all these pressures, there is a lot of tension that gets kept bottled up. We decided to go to the root of this tension: the fact that they don’t tell each other how they really feel.

We wanted to show real people addressing real family tensions. Through influencers, we wanted to invite our audience to #OpenUp; to speak the unspoken and have a real connection with those who matter most.

But influencer relationship management is an immature practice in the Middle East. Despite the abundance of talented bloggers, strategic, engaging and ethical influencer programs are rare. Often times, bloggers are paid to collaborate with brands, leading to inauthentic and scripted results. We needed to stay true to Social@Ogilvy’s Blogger Code of Ethics, providing a true value exchange for our influencers through meaningful and impactful experiences.

We found two highly authoritative and influential people who were struggling with their own inability to #OpenUp, Instagram sensation – Ascia AKF – from Kuwait and MENA Top Chef – Chef Badr – from Saudi Arabia. The value exchange was strong. They would have the opportunity to inspire thousands of people throughout the region by partnering with a global brand that had the resources to tell their moving story in an impactful way. In exchange, these influencers not only physically let us into their homes and willingly promoted the campaign on their own prolific channels, but more importantly, they allowed Coca-Cola candid access to their personal family life. Together, Coca-Cola and the influencers truly partnered to co-create content and inspire others to #OpenUp.

Ascia AKF Video:

Chef Badr video:

When Ascia posted a clip of the video to her own Instagram, she received more than 22,000 post likes and 3,000 comments within one day. During the two weeks, the videos received more than 1 million views. Additionally, there were more than 580,000 social media interactions (likes, comments, shares, retweets), attaining more than 11,000,000 social media impressions. There were thousands of social media comments in which people exclaimed their inspiration.

The most exciting result, however, was the 42% increase in Coca-Cola’s most important global metric – Brand Love Score – during the month of Ramadan. This was the highest increase in Brand Love Score Coca-Cola MENA has ever experienced. Meaningful engagements really are the way forward. Have you faced any challenges with authentic influencer work in your market?

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