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Coke's World Cup Push: Vlog Is It

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When it came to connecting with teens for its U.K. World Cup campaign, Coke decided that a typical TV ad push wouldn't do the trick. Instead, it's taking a chance on one of the newest media vehicles online: video blogging.

Coke has a production crew in Germany recording the daily exploits of Postie and Titch, two "unofficial mascots" it created to entertain fans watching the games in pubs and at tailgating parties. Starting last week, the footage had been uploaded on a video blog created by Coke interactive agency AKQA at www.themascots.co.uk.

"It's more relevant to a teen than a TV ad," said Simon Freedman, senior brand manager for Coke in Great Britain. The first wave of awareness for the "Unofficial Mascots" came with a TV ad push, which solicited auditions from 72 local U.K. soccer team mascots for the right to represent British fans at the World Cup. Rather than go as their team mascots, Coke had the two winners take on the personas of Postie and Titch, an unlikely duo of a mailman and dog.

Though still new, "vlogging" is taking off online, combining two of the hottest Web trends: video and user-generated content. Videos on Rocketboom, a news vlog whose anchor is more likely to wear a T-shirt than a suit, are downloaded about 250,000 times a day, according to the company. YouTube has become home to several popular video bloggers, and the site now enables users to respond with videos of their own.

To maintain authenticity, Freedman said Coke decided to use a light branding touch, debating whether Postie and Titch should even wear Coke T-shirts. (They do not.) Rather than promote the vlog through standard media buys, Coke promoted it virally via uploaded videos on YouTube and similar sites, message boards and blogs.

Of course, relying on fickle young consumers to spread the message presents its own problem, Freedman said: "You're taking a step into the unknown."