Emmanuel Seuge

Vice President, Global Alliances and Ventures, The Coca-Cola Company

In 1997, Emmanuel Seuge, then 21 years old, took a break between his fourth and fifth years at the École Supérieure de Commerce business school in Paris to complete a yearlong marketing internship with Coca-Cola. Emmanuel, a Paris native, helped with the beverage giant’s marketing push for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.

“I am a football fanatic, and I was wondering what would be the best way to participate in [the World Cup],” Emmanuel said. “I sent my résumé to all of the [World Cup] sponsors and Coke chose me.”

Emmanuel never returned to school full time. He instead took a marketing position with Coke, finishing his degree by attending night classes and developing a sports marketing module for the school. Now 35 and the director of Coke’s global sports and entertainment marketing department, Emmanuel says it was a life-changing decision. “I love sports, I love music, I love to work on major projects, and now I am doing it for the largest brand in the world,” he said. “I am passionate about [my job] and I feel lucky to be doing it.”

Since then Emmanuel has worked on four World Cups and five Olympics. In 2006, he moved from overseeing Coke France to work for the brand’s global push in Atlanta. And in 2010, he oversaw Coke’s entire integrated marketing campaign for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. For the 2010 World Cup, Emmanuel and his team crafted a campaign that revolved around Cameroon soccer star Roger Milla’s 1990 post-goal celebratory dance. The campaign, called “Open Happiness,” included the creation of the anthem “Wavin’ Flag,” which Emmanuel’s team produced alongside Somali hip-hop artist K’naan. Coke recorded the song in 17 languages, and the song sold 2.5 million copies.

When Emmanuel attends a sports event, he and his team try to pinpoint “Coke moments” — instances when large groups of people are connected by a common passion for the sport. In 2006, Emmanuel saw tens of thousands of German fans watch games at live public viewings, and for 2010 Coke implemented 732 of these public viewings around the globe.

“How fans transform into spontaneous and celebrating happy people in the context of football,” Emmanuel said, “that is a strategic space that we want to tap into.”

Last Updated: 2013