Coke Warms Up Summer With Foursquare and Paul McCartney

Soda giant ties digital to offline events, including goodwill effort for public parks

Coca-Cola is dialing up its efforts to combine social media with outdoor events, following a successful initiative around a Paul McCartney concert.

In a goodwill effort dubbed “America Is Your Park” (AIYP) that runs through July 15, Coke is inviting Foursquare users to check in to their favorite local, state or national park. The check-ins equate to votes in a contest where the winning public park gets a $100,000 grant from Coke, while second place garners $50,000 and third place, $25,000. Consumers can also vote online. AIYP is in its third year, but it’s the first time Foursquare has been employed (and reportedly is only the second time Coke has run a Foursquare-based promotion in the U.S., in contrast with rival Pepsi, which has been active with with app since its inception). 

And Coke is giving park enthusiasts an extra incentive to check in. While an online vote produces a single tally for the consumer’s favorite park, a Foursquare check-in registers 100 votes. Coke is steering its 45 million Facebook fans to a dedicated campaign page on the geosocial app, where they can learn about national parks, share links and tap a button to tweet about the effort.

“Communities across the country rally behind their parks and use a variety of means for drumming up support,” a Coke rep said in an email. “These recreation grants are provided to help restore, rebuild and enhance activity areas in parks where people can play and be active.”

The campaign follows a digital branding play that Coke recently orchestrated around a Paul McCartney concert in Mexico City. The beverages brand sponsored a live streaming of the show via its Latin-focused CocaCola.TV. The live stream was promoted through various social media channels such as Twitter, where it was pushed to the brand's 570,000 followers with the hashtag #CocaColaTV.

Social marketing software company ThisMoment provided a considerable part of the online effort for Coke’s Latin America division. According to San Francisco-based ThisMoment, roughly 500,000 consumers watched the live stream, averaging 42 minutes time spent per user.

“There’s definitely an emerging trend towards combining digital with outdoor live events, whether it's music or sports,” said John Bara, chief marketing officer of ThisMoment.