Coca-Cola makes political statement | Burrard Strategy

Coca-Cola has taken to Facebook to lend its company brand and message to fight racism in America. The global soda giant is fizzing to the top of social media advocacy with its first-time spend on social issues and promoting social justice. 

Under Facebook’s new transparency rules, to regulate ads categorized as social issues, elections or politics, all users must become compliant. Last week the Coca-Cola company was required to register like any other politician or advocacy organization, reporting how much was spent and which digital audiences they targeted. 

Facebook has finally forced everyone to show their audiences who is behind any ads regarding social issues, elections or political content. 

Starting two years ago in the US, in the wake of #FakeNews and widespread misinformation and disinformation, Facebook required accounts to be publicly accountable for the messages they advertised. If messages related to social issues, elections or politics people had to be vetted, with information publicly disclosed. These same rules also came into effect in Canada on June 10, 2019.

Coca-Cola registered as The Coca-Cola Company with Facebook on Thursday (June 3, 2020), and used its Facebook ad credits to pay $100K (USD) for one ad on June 4, 2020. The brand spent money to showcase their donation to 100 Black Men of America, Inc on the Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Coca-Cola is joining big brands like Walmart, the National Football League, Ben & Jerry’s , and Budweiser by getting involved in public issues that matter to their consumers. 

Comparison of Popular Brands that Registered with Facebook to Spend on Social Issues

Walmart, the top Fortune 500 company in 2019, surprisingly has spent $2.2M (USD) on ads related to social issues, elections or politics since May 2018, according to Facebook’s Ad Library. Other Fortune 500 companies like Amazon.com, Apple, and Ford, as of June 8, 2020, have spent zero. 

The NFL in the last two years (May 2018 to June 2020) has spent $279,474 (USD) on advertisements categorized as being about social issues, elections or politics. The NFL’s mission is to “unite people and inspire communities in the joy of the game.” 

Becoming an early adopter of Facebook compliance meant the NFL could impact and connect with communities on issues related to gun violence, breast cancer awareness, and more.

Big Brands like Amazon.comApple, and Ford, that have not registered or spent money on social issues ads, have denied themselves the opportunity to create impact in communities on social media’s largest digital platform. 

To learn more about the NFL’s ad activities related to social issues visit their Facebook Ad Library homepage.

What does this mean for Coca-Cola to be authorized to run social issues ads on Facebook?

It means the company has allowed itself to be properly vetted and authorized to run ads with a disclaimer message on Facebook and Instagram platforms. The Coca-Cola brand is targeting and engaging audiences about issues to demonstrate alignment with users who are taking social and political action. 

When viewers click on these regulated public affairs-related ads, they can easily see details of the disclaimer and find out who is running the ad, how much is being spent on it, and given contact details (email, phone and website domain) should the public or regulators wish to contact them.

By clicking on “Information from the advertiser” a drop down reveals the person responsible for launching the ad on June 4, 2020 at the Coca-Cola company, a day after the company was granted compliance on June 3, 2020 to run social issues ads. 

This will be the second time the Coca-Cola company has run a social issues ad on the platform. The last time it ran an ad was between June 6, 2018 to June 30, 2018, running without a disclaimer. Facebook took down the ad because the company had not properly registered for digital compliance.

All social issues, elections or political advertisements will be available for viewing in Facebook’s ad library for a period of up to seven years.

The world is changing. Digital compliance, especially when it comes to important public issues, is critical to building trust. In the near future expect more brands to register to promote causes and advocate for social issues.

Popular U.S. Brands That Did and Did Not Spend on Social Issues on Facebook, between May 2018 to June 8, 2020

Brands That Did: Walmart ($2,250,923*), Ben & Jerry’s ($1,459,120), Coca Cola ($104,595), NFL ($279,474), NBA ($219,106), Budweiser ($8,750), K-Swiss ($2,769).

Brands That Did Not: Amazon.com ($0*), Apple ($0*), Ford ($0*), MLB ($0), NHLJordan ($0).

*Fortune 500

MORE TO COME

In the following weeks, Burrard Strategy will be releasing a number of articles about how digital compliance is providing new insights into how we are communicating about issues that matter, and changing how politics works.

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