The Ubiquitous Lesson


Have you ever heard of the word ubiquitous? Do you know what it means?

The bold, black lettered word ubiquitous appeared on 60 billboards that sprung up around Chattanooga mid-spring. These invasive signs left many wondering, “What is ubiquitous? And who is behind these signs?”

Within a week of the posting, the signs became the talk of the town. Local media outlets tried to uncover the source behind ubiquitous to no availEveryone had a theory, and even some mock social media accounts, masquerading as the ubiquitous organizers, sprung up.

After a month of ubiquitous dotting the cityscape, the mystery was revealed. The Coca-Cola Company was the mastermind.

Coca-Cola officials announced that the ubiquitous signs were to draw attention to the launch of their Share a Coke and a Song advertising campaign.

“Ubiquitous’ means ‘everywhere,'” a Coca-Cola spokesperson said. “[So the idea is to] share a Coke, share a song everywhere.”

After the unveiling, every ubiquitous billboard was transformed into a Share a Coke and a Song ad. The mystery was made synonymous with the bottling giant. Marketing ingenuity at its finest.

Here are three marketing takeaways from the campaign:

Creative Simplicity.

With one little-known English word, Coke built a campaign that created buzz. What was so powerful with this word? Almost everybody had to look it up. The creative team chose an approach that was very different than the normal copy-heavy advertising. It was simple in the execution but wonderfully creative in identifying the perfect word to draw interest and curiosity.  That is not a simple task for a brand team.

Think Outside The Box.

Coke budgeted a significant amount of money for 60 outdoor boards that did not immediately  advertise their brand. This was a bold move to opt out of directly advertising their product, especially when budgets are constrained these days and the demand for a return on your investment is important. The payoff however was huge. The mystery generated tremendous buzz around town.  Everybody was talking about it. After the reveal, everybody was talking about who orchestrated the project—Coke.

The Brand Promise.

Many companies advertising something they simply can’t deliver. It is who they want to be or how they want consumers to think of them. The brand promise you communicate in your advertising has to be fulfilled. The Coca-Cola Company has more than 3,000 brands and operates in more than 220 countries around the globe.  The Coke brand can be found in the most remote areas of the world.  The outdoor campaign delivered on one of the strongest brand equities that Coca-Cola maintains. They are everywhere, and they are ubiquitous.


P.O. Box 2541
Chattanooga, TN 37409

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