Advertising-weary young consumers are making even the biggest global brands realise the need to connect with their consumers outside the big, homogeneous marketing campaigns. Need proof? Coca-Cola India (CCI), in an attempt to enter, understand and perhaps influence the daily lives of its young consumers, will soon launch its brand-led mall hangout space - Coke Red Lounge - in Pune. The Pune lounge will be amongst the company’s few lounges outside the US. The others are in Singapore, Philippines and Thailand. The lounge, the first came up three years ago at Illinois, USA, is a commercial version of the Coca-Cola Red Room, which was part of the set for American Idol.

Coke Red Lounge, to be located inside Mariplex mall in Pune, is aimed at being a hangout area for mall rats. The lounge will offer music, movies, surfing on the internet, console gaming and videos piped in via a plasma-screen, not to miss the entire decor would be in the brand colour- red. Needless to say all CCI beverages - Coke, Sprite, Thumbs Up, Maaza, Fanta and Diet Coke - will be available at the lounge.

“It’s time that marketers took note of the new media such as the mobile, Internet and the communities around interests and space. The Red Lounge will be our way to engage with young consumers in India and offer them a safe hangout zone,” says Venkatesh Kini, veep, marketing CCI, giving a clear signal of attempting to create brand buzz outside the 30-second television commercial. Though CCI is rolling out the Red Lounge from Pune, perceived as a small but cosmopolitan city, it has plans to go national if its Pune experiment meets with success.

The cola major hopes to make the Red Lounge a third place of hangout for teenagers away from home and school just the way Starbucks Coffee positioned itself globally. Taking a leaf out of his global experiences in many countries and most recently in the US, CCI’s new marketing head sees similar changes taking place in the Indian market where the media environment is witnessing dramatic shifts.
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