Fanta: Solve the Puzzle! Get Back the Fruit!


Client: Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Ltd.
Product: Fanta
Category: Food, Beverage, Tobacco
Agency: Universal McCann Worldwide
Country: Japan
Year: 2014


Campaign Summary

Fanta is a global brand of fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks created by The Coca-Cola Company. Fanta has been a beloved brand in Japan for a number of years but has been steadily losing its core of teen consumers despite category growth with new brand launches in recent years. Last year, Fanta implemented a global Play campaign, where once a month Fanta held a Play Day, but the campaign wasn’t as successful as desired. This year the brand needed to connect with teens more organically.

Fanta’s challenge was to acquire new drinkers and increase purchase frequency among current drinkers by re-injecting Fanta’s™ brand promise, “fun,” into the brand in a way that teens could not resist.


Objective and Context

Fanta’s core target is teens. Smartphone and digital activities are a natural part of their everyday lives. Teens are on a constant lookout for sharable topics (Ne-ta) that they can enjoy in the little downtime they have. Those sharable topics are also extremely valuable to them, as they are used as a currency of self-expression when communicating with their friends online and face-to-face.

At its core, the campaign aimed to encourage teens to solve a series of puzzles in order to win small instant incentives and a much bigger reward at the end of the campaign. Puzzle solving promotion is a recent phenomenon in Japan, which made this strategy a perfect fit with the Fanta “fun” brand promise. Teens could solve puzzles by using their smartphones to enter a number from the product packaging. The series of puzzles together with funny clue videos throughout the campaign successfully provided teens with Fanta fun.


Creative Strategy

Fanta created opportunities for teens to interact with the brand wherever and whenever they wanted, by putting the smartphone at the heart of the campaign and linking it directly with product packaging to increase consumption.

The campaign story: the fruit on the Fanta package was stolen by phantom thieves, and as teens solved the series of puzzles that Fanta provided, the fruit was returned. Puzzles were designed so they could only be solved using smartphones and social networks, which increased engagement and made it easy for teens to participate. Smartphones acted as game controllers, and when teens entered product packaging numbers on the campaign site, funny movie clips appeared to provide puzzle clues. Smartphone use made it easy for teens to enjoy solving puzzles and share and talk about videos and incentive coupons with their friends in their downtime.

In terms of media, Fanta used the messaging platform LINE and Twitter, both of which have high usage among teens. The goal was to appeal to teens naturally as a part of their everyday lives. LINE is used by approximately 87.5% of Japanese high school students, making it the most used teen app. With LINE, Fanta introduced original stickers that teens used when they registered with Fanta in their LINE chats, which was the biggest traffic driver to the campaign site. Through this means, Fanta successfully reached 5.5 million people.

Because LINE is a one-to-one form of communication, Twitter was used to create additional campaign hype. Twitter has the second-highest usage among teens (approximately 62%), and it was used to announce a series of puzzles, as well as to tease teens with short versions of clue videos via Vine, which served to publicize the campaign and make content sharable.

Members of Golden Bomber, a Japanese rock band popular with teens, became the main ambassadors for the campaign. Their performances entertained audiences and amplified the Fanta fun.

Product packaging was central to the campaign and helped to increase sales and share. Since Fanta is well-distributed nationwide, packaging turned out to be the strongest way to build ongoing awareness for the campaign.

The 25% of the budget allocated to mobile reflects the fact that, despite being a mobile-centric campaign, fast and far reach was required to create momentum, and scalability was required to secure high-volume participation. The result was an optimal balance between mobile and mass media (TV, magazine and transit ads).



Below are the results of the campaign:

  • Sales have increased 7.7% since the start of the campaign, and market share recovered dramatically, turning negative growth into positive and demonstrating a solid contribution to the business.
  • The campaign has driven 1.1 million unique visitors to the campaign website thus far.
  • Fanta-branded virtual stickers have been used on LINE social media more than 130 million times by 5.5 million friends of Fanta, driving significant traffic to the site.
  • The average number of Twitter conversations per day increased approximately 1.8 times, reaching more than 240,000 mentions since the beginning of the campaign.
  • A total of $5 million in PR value was gained through TV programs and online/offline articles. 


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