CAMPAIGNS: Philanthropic PR - Coke gift ensures smiles all around

Client: Coca-Cola (Atlanta)

PR Team: Ogilvy (New York)

Campaign: Coca-Cola's donation to Library of Congress

Time Frame: October - November 2000

Budget: dollars 350,000

With only one month to plan, prepare and perform, Ogilvy PR probably

slugged down more than a few late-night Cokes in its quest to publicize

Coca-Cola's gift to the Library of Congress - a collection of more than

20,000 TV commercials dating back to the 1950's.

Not only is Coke's gift the largest donation of corporate advertising in

the library's 200-year history, but the timing of it dovetailed nicely

with the 50th anniversary of the company's television advertising



Ogilvy's objectives were to show Coca-Cola as an enduring part of

people's lives - a brand associated with fun times and entertainment -

and to position the donated ads as cultural snapshots of the times in

which they were created.

Seeking publicity for the brand beyond the US, the agency targeted

national and international print and broadcast media, online media and

advertising trade publications.


The campaign culminated in a November 29 event held at the Library of

Congress, during which Coke CEO Doug Daft officially presented the gift

to librarian James Billington. Ogilvy created retrospective reels and

kiosks for the event, and local choirs performed a medley of some of

Coke's most popular jingles.

Before, during and after the event, spokespeople were made available for

one-on-one media interviews. They included former football player Joe

Greene of Coke's 'Mean Joe Greene' commercial, Coca-Cola executives and

Library of Congress staff.

To help local television markets cover the event, the agency created a

b-roll package containing commercial highlights, footage of Coke's

warehouse facility, film being edited, the official gift-giving and the

chorus' performance of the Coke jingles.

Ogilvy also used nontraditional media and communications tools - such as

live Webcasts featuring streaming video of the Library of Congress event

- to show Coca-Cola as a contemporary brand. The agency created an

online pressroom on Coke's existing Web site to keep media


In addition to the Webcasts, the special site featured press releases,

video clips, contacts and a commercial timeline.

Phil Mooney, Coke company archivist, and Pat Loughney, head of the

motion picture, broadcasting and recorded sound division of the Library

of Congress, conducted a satellite media tour for local and national

morning shows. This generated a story the day after the event.


The campaign generated more than 100 million media impressions,

including coverage by CBS News, Access Hollywood, BBC, CNN, USA Today,

The Wall Street Journal, AP, Reuters and Dow Jones News Service.

A highlight was when the Today show's Katie Couric proclaimed that the

Mean Joe Greene commercial still makes her 'smile after all these


Another boost occured when Stuart Elliott of The New York Times wrote:

'The donation is indicative of the increasing attention being paid to

the heritage of advertising and marketing, as those businesses become

more a part of American, and global, corporate and popular culture.'

Ogilvy saw this as affirmation that it had achieved its goal of showing

the commercials as cultural snap-shots. Linton Weeks of The Washington

Post supplied further proof, calling the Mean Joe Green commercial a

'moment in American history.'


Ogilvy will continue to work with Minute Maid, a Coca-Cola brand. And

Barbara Cohen, SVP at Ogilvy, says the firm hopes to be involved in

other special projects for the beverage giant in the future.]

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