Coke’s All-Digital, Teen-Targeted ‘AHH Effect’ Campaign Proves AHH-ffective

It’s been almost six months since Coca-Cola launched its first ever teen-targeted, all-digital, content-based campaign, The AHH Effect, which has been continually releasing new “experiences” via multiple variations of (each including one more “H” in its URL). Each site features “a teen-worthy moment of randomness, creativity and delight that’s best experienced from teens’ favorite gadgets – their mobile devices.” Just in the past month, 20 more URLs have gone live.

In case the all-caps have confused you, the “AHH” in AHH Effect is not meant as a panicked scream, but as a satisfied sigh. Coke’s initial release about the campaign described it this way:

The AHH Effect” is that multidimensional feeling of happiness, satisfaction and delicious refreshment one experiences after drinking an ice-cold Coke. It’s been described as the sound a smile would make if smiles made sounds, and it’s the centerpiece of a new teen-focused program from Coca-Cola. Bringing to life 61 dimensions of ‘AHH’ through a range of digital experiences, from games and films to GIFs, the program showcases all of the qualities of Coke and positions the beverage as the ultimate refresher.”

Included in the latest batch of experiences are several created with some of Coca-Cola’s key customer partners, including McDonalds, AMC Theatres, Six Flags and 7-Eleven. The brands partnered to explore the AHH Effect, and used the same combination of “gamification” and whimsy that Coke used during the initial launch of the campaign. For instance, the experience created with Six Flags, “Don’t Spill The Coke,” is a fast-paced game in which users try to keep their Coca-Cola from tipping over while riding a rollercoaster.

A seriously clever campaign that touches on many things digital experts point to when dealing with teens: their love of mobile devices, short attention spans, and willingness to engage others in something that interests them. But is it working?

Statistics gathered by Coke would point to the AHH-firmative.

The average time spent on each experience clocks in at over 2:20 minutes, which is nearly five times the exposure generated through a traditional television commercial. There have been more than 5 million visits to URLs since the campaign’s launch, nearly 70% of which have been “organic”, meaning not from paid online media.

Sounds of AHH — Video featuring YouTube sensation Kurt Hugo Schneider is the highest-rated experience in the campaign, with the average viewer watching his video more than two times through. Maniac Kernels from Outer Space (as in popcorn kernels), AMC Theatres’ co-branded game in which players must dodge popcorn that bites back, is another one of the highest-rated experiences in the campaign, with the average viewer playing for over three minutes.

And the campaign isn’t even done yet — only 40 of the eventual 61 experiences have gone live so far.

In a press release that accompanied the launch of the campaign, Andy McMillin, vice president of Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America Group, said:

“The AHH Effect campaign is an unconventional and bold step for the brand to connect with teens. Through these experiences, we’re hoping to create the kind of unique digital journey of discovery that today’s teens crave. Based on our research, we know that teens are harder to reach than ever before. With The AHH Effect, we’re interacting with teens, and entertaining them through their own language”

That strategy, it seems, is working.