At the end of the day, if you’re going to buy a can of Coke, you want the real thing.—Richie Sambora
Coca-Cola® is the world’s most recognizable brand. Maintaining that position isn’t easy and there have been some moments over the past year where they’ve seen some slippage. When one sits at the top, there’s always someone challenging, which means Coke has to employ not just one agency of record (Wieden + Kennedy) but multiple agencies around the world constantly producing the wide range of advertising methods required to keep Coke as the top-of-mind beverage. Each piece of a campaign is a big deal.
What Coke did this week, though, was bigger than normal. Instead of releasing the usual spate of seasonal spots, Coke announced that it dumped the “Open Happiness” campaign it’s been using globally the past seven years. In its place is a massive new 25-ad effort called “Taste The Feeling.”
The concept behind the move is that beverage giant may have gotten a bit “too big for its britches,” to use a phrase heard often around downtown Atlanta. Chief marketing officer Marcos de Quinto said, “We’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become. The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure—so the humbler we are, the bigger we are. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand.”
To achieve this goal, the brand hired Ogilvy & Mather, New York, Mercado-McCann, Santo, and Sra. Rushmore to produce a set of 10 commercials, print and digital ads, and other materials for the initial 25-piece push of the campaign. Wieden + Kennedy and five other agencies will continue the ongoing work. The TV spots, in various languages, can be found on Coke’s YouTube page. One inadvertent attraction is that the ad titled “Under Pressure” has as its soundtrack the David Bowie/Queen song of the same name. Given Bowie’s recent death, the ads feel more timely than Ogilvy & Mather could have anticipated. Take a look:
For print, Coke called upon fashion photogs Guy Aroch and Nacho Ricci. The pair created a set of print ads that are definitely of contemporary styling, but still have the old-time appeal that is Coke’s legacy. The fact that they used the 10 oz. glass bottles throughout the set, as well as bright red lipstick (Coke red, to be sure), is certainly part of that look that we notice without realizing we’ve noticed. Here’s a sample:
The ads have been carefully put together, each one targeting a specific demographic that is core to Coke’s ongoing growth, especially among Millennials worldwide, but doesn’t abandon their existing audience, either. When it comes to global brand management, the Coke campaign is a master class full of valuable lessons. Given some of the pushback they’ve had in recent years over health concerns, the campaign centers on reminding us of why we enjoy the soda in the first place. Emotion triumphs over everything.
Score another win for Coca-Cola.