Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I just joined M5, Coca-cola and libraries

Coke just launched some cool work. Check out the M5 project, launched today.
They commissioned some high-end designers to wrap some old-school bottles in hip new designs, and then the new designs will only be available at exclusive clubs.

Now, I have to say, (with a straight face, I might add) I understand that I will be drinking the same old coke from a fancy-schmancy can. Yes. And I am willing to pay triple to have "the experience" of a hip lounge, fancy bottle, aura of coolness.

And I think there are a lot of other people who will, too.

Now, here's where it relates to libraries.
We all thought we knew Coke. I mean, Coca-cola is an uber-stable, globally known and understood brand, right?
Of course. But they've taken the nostalgia that a lot of us associate with coke: the curvy bottle and the color red, and given it a whole new raison d'etre.

Is it going to stop people from buying plain old coke in the grocery stores? Not at all. But is it going to encourage people to think of Coke as a viable alternative when they're out on the town, in the evening? Absolutely. Those bottles are cool, and design does matter.

So if Coke can make the inky-black fizzy stuff that we all know rots our teeth and our insides...and make us think about it in a whole new fresh way (i.e., change the category, for your marketing types)...can't we as library workers start to think of ways we can do the same for our libraries?

The other piece of the coke experience: I just joined M5, an organization that I willingly signed up for, so I would know what the cool clubs are--where they would have the hip bottles. It's a great push from both sides: It gets the clubs to ask if they can sell the product--and it gets the customers to ask to be notified when/where the product will appear. And coke is right in the middle, making the cool experience happen, bringing the people together.

Sounds eerily like one of the scenarios that has been floating in my head: a way for libraries to make the cool experience happen, to bring the people together.

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