Image courtesy of Adhistory

The Grocer recently published its Top 100 advertisers report and showed that Coca-Cola cut ad spend by 6.6% in 2010 and invested more in social media.

A spokeswoman at Coca-Cola said that while TV is still an important medium from promoting their brands,”many of our recent advertising campaigns and promotions have also utilised online facilities such as Facebook and YouTube more”.

With the launch of Coke Zone, a social media oriented site which offers Coke drinkers access to exclusive content and rewards, Coca-Cola has clearly realised the value of integrating offline and online marketing.

While Coke Zone is considered to be a valuable point of interaction with consumers, what’s more interesting is that using social media has allowed Coca-Cola to break out of the stop-start cycle of more traditional media campaigns and to start engaging on a more frequent, ongoing basis. Coca-Cola’s social media strategy is clearly about long-term sustainable engagement, developing advocacy and encouraging brand loyalty.

This is something that other fmcg brands would do well to think about. Social media is not just about campaigns or generating buzz around a new product launch. It can be used to engage with consumers on an ongoing basis in order to deepen relationships with a brand.

Perhaps it’s time for other areas of the consumer market place to reconsider their advertising spend too. In particular, household brands. Household brands spent a whopping £177.8 million on advertising in 2010. But with the rising cost of detergent ingredients threatening retail prices (both coconut oil and palm kernel oil are up 130% on last years price) can household brands continue to spend big bucks on advertising or should they be looking at alternative means, perhaps through social media, of developing brand loyalty?