Coca-Cola, AOL Forge Worldwide Marketing Pact

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Coca-Cola and America Online yesterday signed a multiyear agreement to develop online and offline global marketing programs.


The worldwide interactive marketing campaign is the first for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and is the first association AOL has had with Coke.


The companies said the marketing programs will focus on several themes, including music, sports, holidays and community events.


The companies plan to build some of the promotions around AOL's Moviephone brand, Coke's sponsorship of the Olympic Games and the Christmas holiday season.


Coca-Cola will make AOL's interactive services available to its consumers around the world though its distribution channels, including advertising, merchandising, packaging and in-store promotions.


Dulles, VA-based AOL in turn will market Coke's brands online across its networks, including Compuserve, AOL.com, Netscape, Spinner, Winamp and ICQ.


Reportedly, Coke will pay $24 million for access to AOL's services, while both companies will spend $20 million over the next two years on joint marketing.


The companies said they expect to reap the benefits of each other's brand recognition.


"Coca-Cola's legacy dates back more than a hundred years, while the AOL brand is barely a decade old, but today, Coca-Cola and AOL are two of the most recognized and powerful consumer brands in the world," said Steve Case, chairman/CEO, AOL. "We look forward to helping Coca-Cola use the online medium to extend its legacy into this new Internet century."


This time isn't the first a major soft drink maker and Internet player have joined forces. In March, Yahoo and Pepsi agreed to a loyalty marketing campaign.
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