Ocean City Today

Coca-Cola regains title as ‘official drink of Ocean City’

Five-year contract comes with event sponsorship, marketing opportunities
By Katie Tabeling | Sep 14, 2017

(Sept. 15, 2017) The ink is dry on Coca-Cola’s beverage contract with the resort and the soft drink titan is looking for future marketing possibilities now that it’s “the official soft drink of Ocean City.”

Cocoa-Cola, a resort sponsor since 2012, offered to renew a five-year contract in April. The contract mandates Coke will donate approximately $19,000 in products per year.

The company would also provide $15,000 in marketing support each year, including Coke-branded umbrellas for the Beach Patrol and volleyball nets.

Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito said Coke would continue to support events with  $15,000 annual sponsorships each year for the Swing for Youth Golf Open,  the Christmas Parade and Winterfest New Year Eve party, as well as trying out some fresh ideas.

“They’re coming up with marketing ideas that are above and beyond the contract, including some things they want to do with all their beach towns,” Petito said during Tuesday’s Recreation and Parks Commission meeting. “One of the things they’d like to bring to Ocean City is having a photo op with Adirondack chairs on the beach.”

Two eight-feet tall Adirondack chairs would be placed on the Boardwalk, each with the Town of Ocean City and Coca-Cola logos on them. A third chair would be placed at Northside park.

“It’s like the hot spots at Winterfest, where you go to take a photo of yourself with something, but the idea is to take photos while you’re sitting in the chair,” said Special Event Superintendent Frank Miller. “The chairs are around 700 pounds and would be built on-site and probably would stay there for an extended period of time.”

There were no major concerns from  the Recreation and Parks Commission, but Chairman Wayne Hartman asked that Risk Manager Eric Langstrom be included in conversations. When the final design of the logos was completed, the idea would be brought to the full City Council.

Coca-Cola is also developing a concept for a “Sand Castle Classic,” or a sand castle-building contest. The idea would be to draw visitors to the beach to build sand sculptures, play other games like volleyball and corn hole while enjoying Coke products.

Miller saw this idea as another value-added event, and supported developing it further.

“It’s great because it’s produced by someone else, with someone else’s money,” he said. “We could easily market this. But they need to get to the point where they’re ready to bring it to us.”

In addition to special events and photo hot spots, Coca-Cola would also send a crew to help during some summertime events as a marketing technique.

“They helped out at one movie on the beach and OC Beach Dance Party,” Petito said. “They also asked for information on other advertising opportunities, like on the trams, the buses, and poles to even our water tower.”

Coca-Cola reportedly got ideas when they saw the late great Dew Tour water tower on Worcester Street, but Miller assured the commission that seeing a red-painted water tower was very unlikely.

“It’s in six digits, and very cost prohibitive,” he said.

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