Finds Its Inner YouTube

It may come as a surprise given Coke’s tepid reaction to a recent viral video starring its product, but the soft-drink giant is overhauling its Web sites, and, as brand destinations designed to showcase consumer creativity.

The Atlanta-based company until now has used its namesake sites as sources for corporate information, while linking out to its consumer-facing destinations, like and But as of this week, visitors to can take part in “The Coke Show,” monthly “challenges” testing their creativity.

In the first challenge, set to run through August, users are invited to submit short videos, but they’re not limited to creating ads or odes to the brand. Instead, Coke is asking for 45-second video expressions of “the essence of you.” Visitors will rate submissions, culling them down to 10, which will be judged by a group of professional filmmakers.

Coke got a lesson in the power of consumer creativity with the recent hit viral video of two men creating geysers with Diet Coke and Mentos (when combined, they spark a liquid explosion). Asked about it, a Coke representative told The Wall Street Journal in June that it was “entertaining,” but didn’t “fit with the brand personality.”

Now, Coke is giving consumers a fair amount of free rein—with boundaries. “We give the structure, we try to give the guidance, but we’re looking for consumers to fill it with content that’s relevant to them rather than us talking to them,” said representative Andras Kallos. The site, created by independent AKQA, will roll out in 28 markets.