Brand Ambassador – The phrase has been in use for many years. Going forward brand marketers are searching for ambassadors in every domain. I wonder if you saw the report on Charmin’s quest to find bathroom ambassadors, Ford’s looking for Fusion ambassadors, and now Coca-Cola is looking for a few brand Happiness ambassadors themselves.

The Coca-Cola Company is on a mission to find happiness in the 206 different countries that sell Coca-Cola products across the world.

With the Expedition 206 campaign, Coca-Cola is tapping regular people to be their “Happiness Ambassadors” and travel the world for the whole of 2010 and document their quest via blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, TwitPics, and other social media mentions. Yesterday, at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA, Coca-Cola announced the winning Expedition 206team.  In Coca-Cola’s Expedition 206 campaign, the company has used social media to pick three individuals to travel the world in 2010, who in turn visit all 206 markets where Coca-Cola has a presence. Along the way, the “Happiness Ambassadors” will take photos, make videos, send out updates on Twitter and Facebook and connect with individuals around the world

We’re constantly seeing new examples of big companies — and big brands — embracing and using social media to connect with customers. Still, it’s impressive to see a company the size of Coca-Cola, not only talk the talk, but actually follow-through.  The idea for Expedition 206 was kick-started by Clyde Tuggle, the senior vice president of Global Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola. This is interesting for two reasons: 1) this initiative started from the top — the higher-ups didn’t have to be convinced of the power of social media and 2) this blurs the traditional lines and roles that exist between PR and marketing teams. Tuggle made it clear that Coke knows that they don’t own the brand — the consumers own the brand. Thus, who better to trust to spread the message of happiness than those consumers?

Although the scale of Expedition 206 is obviously larger than what most social campaigns can be, the idea of connecting people globally using social media and real-life contact is something we hope other companies embrace.

Source Mashable & DM News