InterContinental's Award Winning Promotion


Sometimes, successful special promotions have a lot to do with being in the right place when the tide comes in. Last year, when Coca-Cola teamed up with world-renowned Riedel Glassware to craft a specialty cocktail glass designed to enhance the sensory experience and flavors of Coca-Cola, they needed a smart launching pad. Enter InterContinental Hotel Group, asked to develop a limited-time promotional campaign featuring the new glass.

The three companies chose the InterContinental Buckhead in Atlanta to serve as the hospitality launch point for the debut of the new glass, with the promotion's launch centered around a series of internationally inspired cocktails featuring Coca-Cola. When all was said and done, the execution of the promotion, sponsored by Beam Suntory, brought the hotel chain the Vibe Vista Award for Best Hotel Special Event Program in 2015. “Moments of Happiness” (the title of the promotion) focused on restaurant and bar guests at the InterContinental Buckhead, as well as lifestyle, hotel industry and business media in Atlanta and throughout the U.S from mid-July through mid-September. 

Building on the work of Georg Riedel, the 10th generation owner of the Austrian company who worked closely with Coca-Cola tasting experts to determine the perfect shape to showcase the aroma and taste of their iconic cola, the lead-free stemless crystal “O” design draws inspiration from the world famous Coca-Cola contour bottle. 

InterContinental crafted 11 globally inspired cocktails featuring Coca-Cola as a primary ingredient, “blending tastes from a diverse world to make something beautiful,” as the chain reports. The name of each drink was selected to support the theme of several "Moments of Happiness” (such as “Brilliant,” “Joy,” and “Fantastic”). 

Included were Pyara, or Love (India), made with Knob Creek bourbon, saffron-infused orgeat syrup, fresh lime juice, Greek yogurt and Coca-Cola, topped with the spice blend garam masala; Nuwe, or New (Africa), made with mint leaves, cucumber slices, gin, cumin tincture and Coca-Cola with a mint sprig.

The primary vehicle for getting attention for the promotion was a media-focused tasting event of the 11 new cocktails, held at the InterContinental Buckhead in August. Information and samples of the ingredients in each drink were displayed, one for each cocktail/country or region. 

Two preliminary, internal tastings preceded the media event. The first was held in April as an in-depth training session for the hotel’s bar and restaurant staff, with members of the InterContinental Hotels brand team and InterContinental Hotel Buckhead representatives in attendance as well. The second tasting event was in June, conducted as a demonstration for senior executives of the three companies. 

The “Moment of Happiness” promotion was designed primarily as a public relations vehicle, and generated more than 240 media placements, resulting in 75 million-plus impressions, as well as a 10-percent increase in liquor sales for the InterContinental Buckhead across the promotion period, an overall increase in beverage revenue, as well as sales of 229 specialty cocktails generating nearly $3,000 in revenue.