Coke Zero is taking taste testing to an entirely new level. The beverage giant has managed to make a drinkable billboard to serve soda to NCAA fans in Indiana. The 23,000-pound functional signage is part of Coke’s sponsorship of the coming weekend’s NCAA Men’s Final Four competition. The sign also marks the first product to come from Ogilvy since the agency won Coke’s business last year.
The monster sign is installed in White River State Park in Indianapolis, where the final games will be hosted. The sign serves Coke Zero via a 4,500-foot straw that spells out “Taste It.” Fans can taste Coke Zero for themselves from any one of the six fountain spouts at the bottom of the billboard. The entire operation requires 75 valves, four high-pressure pumps, and 16 sensors to make sure the billboard pushes liquid and air through tubes to make it look like the straw is emptying. According to Coke, the billboard runs on enough compressed air to fill all the basketballs used during March Madness.
Coke’s sponsorship of the major sporting event does not stop at interactive outdoor advertising. They plan to bring the interaction to viewers at home via interactive TV commercials. The viewers will be encouraged to use the Shazam mobile app while the TV ad airs to “unlock extra content.” Shazam uses voice recognition technology to identify the ad, then Shazam will begin to show an ad with a glass filling up with Coke. Once the glass is full, the app provides the user a mobile coupon for a free 20-ounce bottle of Coke.
Mobile technologies, like Shazam, have seen slow adoption by brands because of a lack of incentive for users to use the technology. However, give someone something for free, like a bottle of Coke for example, and they are more than willing to engage with the TV ad.