Coca-Cola 2.0

I just got off the phone with Coca-Cola’s David Vanderpoel. You might recall his earlier comment regarding the Coca-Cola VirtualThirst campaign in Second Life that came as a result of my critique of the competition rules.

If you’ve not read my most recent post (reLink), here’s the back story:

One of the VirtualThirst contestants participants had placed an item intended as part of the competition activities up for distribution on the Second Life Exchange website. Someone reportedly contacted SLExchange informing them of the trademark infringement of not just Coca-Cola’s brand but others as well (actually, multiple hits rings alarm bells in my mind).

The contestant contacted C.C. Chapman of marketing firm crayon, the group responsible for the competition, and Chapman immediately contacted the people at Coca-Cola… who then contacted SLExchange and requested they not police their trademark and that they reinstate the items which had been removed.

Vanderpoel informed me during our conversation that Coca-Cola did not, at any time, contact SLExchange to remove items, which makes sense given that other brands were apparently included in that notification.

After I’d read the secondhand report that Coca-Cola had “released” their trademark, I immediately got to thinking that a) there was no official guidance, and b) even I wouldn’t unconditionally release a trademark.

So I contacted C.C. Chapman who put me through to Vanderpoel. And I’ve got one thing to say: I’m impressed.

First off, my understanding from our conversation is that no one should expect any official guidance from Coca-Cola. Additionally, I was informed that Coca-Cola simply doesn’t want an intermediary policing their brand for them. Nor do they want to interfere with the in-world economy when people are using their brand in ways that do not adversely impact them.

Okay. So that part makes good, reasonable sense to me. But there’s more.

For those people who feel the need to use the Coca-Cola trade dress in ways that are detrimental to the brand’s reputation, Coca-Cola is more interested in establishing a dialog to help them understand why people want to attack them in the first place than they are in trying to stop them.

This is by far the smartest position I’ve seen a company take lately.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t think the competition could have been set up a little better, but the fact that they engaged the community, they adjusted (to some degree) after competition launch, and are now taking this extraordinary stance is, honestly, a welcome surprise to me. My hope now is that word will get out and other companies will follow their lead.

So much for the theory that old brands can’t learn new tricks.

{Minor Update: to make minor correction and improve clarity}

12 thoughts on “Coca-Cola 2.0

  1. Pingback: Out to Pasture » Blog Archive » Coca-Cola trademark clarification

  2. Pingback: LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® » Blog Archive » Coke adds Second Life?

  3. Pingback: GigaOM Top Five Virtual World Business News Items «

  4. Minor detail: I did not participate in the virtual thirst contest. I just made that outfit to go to one of the parties that said ‘dress appropriate’. *grins*

  5. Pingback: Coca-Cola gibt Nutzung der eigenen Marke für Second Life frei. at

  6. Hi nice blog but why do you don’t take donations via paypal? Place a button on your site for people that want to give you donations. For your blog thats extra money for you. So that you keep your blog for a long time. I think many people will give you something. So than the internet have very good blogs. It’s better than always have google ads on your blog or something like that. Greetings kaale

  7. I’m not especially interested in either taking donations or accepting ads on this blog. The minute I do that at least two things change:

    1) I’ll feel as if I somehow owe readers something if I accept donations.
    2) Readers will rightly question my integrity if I claim to like a product which is advertised here.

    I write this blog mostly because it’s an enjoyable pastime. Additionally because it puts me in touch with other people who share my interests. And also because it sometimes attracts potential clients. That’s enough.

  8. Pingback: Virtually Blind - Virtual Law | Legal Issues That Impact Virtual Worlds » Blog Archive » Quicklinks: Answer in Bragg Case; Victory in France; Casino Ad Policy (De)clarification; Sex Toy Copyright Suit; and Coca Cola’s Trademark in Second

Comments are closed.