Coca-Cola Washes Hands of New Orleans Graffiti Campaign


On the Thursday night before this past weekend's NCAA Final Four matchups in New Orleans, street teams hired by an ad agency working on behalf of Coca-Cola stenciled ads for Coca-Cola Zero on flagstone sidewalk panels and cement surfaces in the French Quarter, the Central Business District and Treme. Great idea, as far as building awareness for Zero goes—the ads were stenciled without permission from the city and the resulting flap has made the campaign a national story. Only problem is this probably wasn't the kind of awareness Coca-Cola was seeking.

To make matters worse, Coca-Cola shifted the responsibility for breaking city ordinances to the ad agency. Even if Coca-Cola bears zero (no pun intended) responsibility for the guerrilla campaign, it's difficult to see how pointing the finger in any way reflects well on the brand.

A Coca-Cola spokesman based in Jefferson Parish told The Times-Picayune that the company hadn't authorized the ad agency to go ahead with the guerrilla campaign. He also told New Orleans-based WWLTV, "Essentially there was a miscommunication between our (New York advertising) agency of what the permit that they saw from the city allowed, but it was clearly a miscommunication on the part of our agency. When we learned of their misinterpretation, we moved very quickly and expeditiously to send out crews to remove the stencils that they had placed."

Had Coca-Cola merely taken responsibility for breaking city ordinances with its own campaign for its own product, the fallout would have been much less severe—and widespread.

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI
 


Comments Off

avatar

About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director of events for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.



Deals of the Week

Get $200 Off PR News' Digital PR Conference

 digitalpr2015-180x150_updated
Join us June 1-3 where you'll hear from top brands such as Walmart, Miami Heat, Verizon and Ritz-Carlton on PR and communication best practices for the next wave of digital trends.

Use code “200off” at checkout to save $200 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Book of Employee Communications

employeecommunications-180x150

In this 5th volume of PR News’ Book of Employee Communications, our authors cover more than 45 articles on crisis communications, social media policies, human resources collaboration, brand evangelism and more.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

 

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.