Coke rethinks digital approach after Facebook controversy

Coca-Cola is reviewing its approach to digital marketing after a Facebook campaign for Dr Pepper went awry.

Wayne Rooney: star of Coke Zero's Street Striker
Wayne Rooney: star of Coke Zero's Street Striker

The campaign by Coca-Cola, which owns the Dr Pepper brand, resulted in a 14-year-old girl’s status update being hi-jacked and a reference to a pornographic movie inserted in its place.

The offending status update pretended the 14-year-old had watched a movie on YouTube called ’2 Girls 1 Cup’. The message stated: ’I watched 2 girls one cup and felt hungry afterwards’. The girl’s mother said her daughter searched for the movie after reading the status update, but was fortunately blocked by the child filter.

Lean Mean Fighting Machine was awarded the account in April but a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola said that an investigation had now been launched and the soft drinks giant would be reviewing its relationship with the agency.

The spokeswoman added: 'It has been brought to our attention that the Dr Pepper promotion on Facebook posted an offensive status update. We apologise for any offence caused. As soon as we became aware of this we took immediate action and removed the status update from the application. We have also taken the decision to end the promotion. We were unaware of the meaning of this line when the promotion was approved and have launched an investigation into why it was included. We take full responsibility and will be reviewing our promotional procedures. We will take all steps necessary to ensure this does not happen again.'

The controversy comes in the same week that Lean Mean Fighting Machine has landed the digital ad account for Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero brand. Coca-Cola confirmed that the investigation could also affect this appointment.

Coca-Cola had employed Lean Mean Fighting Machine to overhaul its digital marketing programme for Coke Zero.

The agency, which won the account from Glue Isobar, had been briefed to centre the digital activity on the third series of 'Coke Zero presents Wayne Rooney Street Striker', which is being filmed this summer for Sky1.

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