Through the agreement, Coke will offer codes for 70 million free iTunes songs to thirsty European music fans. (Sorry, U.S. soda enthusiasts, but the deal only applies to the U.K. and Germany.) Given iTunes' popularity, the deal should increase Coke's cool factor with young British and German audiences. It also follows Coke's recent abandonment of its own European digital music site.
Although Coke's brand is strong, its growth and stock price over the last several years haven't exactly impressed many investors. (Of course, that same stock price made it irresistible to Motley Fool Inside Value's Philip Durell, who has recommended Coke to subscribers.) Reenergized marketing might help boost Coke's fortunes, but it's not the first soda company to catch on to iTunes' coolness. Rival PepsiCo
Even more recently, Coke showed geezer-like tendencies in shunning a popular Internet video showcasing the explosive, spectacular effects of combining Diet Coke and Mentos candies. (Fool Rich Smith believed it was an idiotic move, considering that most companies dream of free word-of-mouth advertising.) It was troubling to think that Coke just didn't get the brave new world of modern advertising, so its iTunes deal is a bit heartening.
Hooking up with iTunes may not be original, but it's a step in the right direction. Several news agencies also pointed out that Coke is trying to make up for lost time in the viral-marketing arena by allowing users to post their own videos on an interactive website.
My Foolish colleague Nate Parmelee recently observed that Coke's last quarter showed some improvement. That bodes well for the company, as does its more energetic, forward-thinking marketing. After all, Coke faces plenty of competition in quenching people's thirsts, including the aforementioned Pepsi, Cadbury Schweppes
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.