Coca-Cola North America

We let you call the shots.


Hosted on CenturyLink, the world’s largest beverage company’s campaign website couldn’t handle increased traffic created by its Super Bowl commercial.


They needed a more reliable, cost-effective way to handle website traffic spikes.


We migrated their North American consumer-facing sites to AWS in only 2 months and manage them, enabling seamless digital marketing campaigns and user experiences and 40% operational savings.

About the Business

As the world’s largest beverage company, this company is a global leader in the beverage industry, offering over 500 brands in 207 countries, 1.9 billion servings per day, 750 products in North America alone, and running over 100 promotions every year.

The Business Challenges

During Super Bowl 47, the company ran one of its largest digital marketing campaigns. The Super Bowl commercial presented a “you call the ending” feature based on online user votes. The company felt confident about its preparations for the campaign, securing extra hardware and testing for ten times the expected traffic.

However, in the middle of the second quarter, web page times slowed and traffic was much higher than anticipated. All of the company’s servers were saturated, and they were spinning up new servers in real time, but nothing helped them catch up with the amount of traffic participating in the campaign, resulting in a poor user experience. This forced the company to examine the way they were operating and look towards the public cloud.

Making the Case for the Cloud

To make the business case for the cloud, the company’s IT had to focus on price, reliability and time to market. Their initial estimates showed cloud as 10% more expensive than current costs, but when the team brought in 2nd Watch to help with operations, the final cost estimate showed savings that were very significant for like systems. 2nd watch collaborated with the company’s IT team on how to rethink how it operated to achieve cost savings, including things like turning off test, staging and QA environments when not in use, leveraging automation, running elastic environments and rethinking architectures. This cost savings estimate proved out the business case and accelerated the cloud migration of their other workloads.

The CPG company went through a vendor selection process, evaluating vendors based on its needs of managed capabilities, automation, auto-scaling, price, support for workloads, technical support, metered billing, security and technical excellence. After completing a vendor analysis and confirming its selection with the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, its IT team and executive team chose 2nd Watch and Amazon Web Services.

Challenges & Solutions

The company had several goals in mind for moving to AWS, including auto-scaling to handle unpredictable traffic spikes – as with its need to migrate its gaming application, which experienced millions of requests per day and hundreds of requests per second at its peak, – access to new platforms like Chef and Puppet, full visibility into environments without manual setup, metered billing and reconciliation, secure and isolated environments, zero-downtime deployments and a self-serve DevOps model for its agencies. It also needed a way to control access to AWS among its numerous agencies.

2nd Watch had solutions for each of those goals that were scalable for the business and operating model. Now the company has migrated North American sites to AWS with the help of 2nd Watch. The company started its migrations with simpler, static sites in order to learn from those before moving flagship programs using an agile approach. The company was able to migrate the workloads to AWS in only 2 months with little refactoring with the help of 2nd Watch. Now all of the company’s North American consumer facing websites are hosted and managed by 2nd Watch and powered by AWS, additionally resulting in successful Super Bowl 2014 and 2015 digital marketing campaigns.


The CPG company realized 40% operational savings and 80% reduction in help-desk tickets thanks to the migrations and its new DevOps model with full agency accountability. The company now has simple auto-scaling on all environments and full isolation for each site.

To learn more, watch Digital Marketing Platform Architect, Michael Conner’s AWS re:Invent 2014 presentation on Coca-Cola’s migration to AWS.

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