Burned By Social Media Once Before, Coke Tries Its Hand At Virtual World

Deeming its branded user-generated content channel a flop, Coca-Cola has decided to give virtual worlds a try, Mediaweek reports. Last summer, the soft drink company closed down its YouTube-like video channel, The Coke Show, after it failed to sustain significant audience numbers. Despite that experience, Coke appeared undeterred from trying to tap into social media and began a $1 million branding campaign on MySpace. Additionally, as we recently noted, Coke’s currently working on two marketing programs with Facebook.

It has now enlisted Makena Technologies, the creator of virtual world and gaming site There.com, in the creation of its new project, MyCoke.com. The community around the site is called CC Metro and will also let users upload their own videos, set up avatars, create music mashups and play games. The site will also have a clear connection to There.com, allowing members of each community chat with one another. Members will also be able to redeem virtual Coke coupons to purchase items on There.com as well. In addition to being identified as a Coke-related experience, the site will also feature the beverage giant’s marketing partners, including Nascar, American Idol, and the Olympic Games.

Jack Myers Media Business Report: In a sense, Coke’s virtual world has a headstart. Although the video channel was shut, Coke Studios, the former name of CC Metro, has been operating as a web hub for five years and has 8 million members. And while marketers have been fleeing from Second Life lately, There.com CEO Michael Wilson insists he’s learned from his rival’s mistakes, offering an example: “Putting a Dell store in a virtual world was the silliest idea I’ve ever heard of. You need to make it engaging, and brand it with subtlety. Not billboards!”