It’s all about happiness this year for Coke. So, when an occasion like Valentine’s Day comes along, it could become tricky. Happiness may be connected to love but those are still two different emotions. Any advertising agency will tell you that it is always better to stay within one message.
Although it is tricky, it’s not impossible especially when you have great advertising agencies behind you that have consistently produced advertising ideas and materials that have kept your brand and product on top. However, Coke wanted to take it a step further. Understand that Coke’s vision is for Coke to be within arm’s reach for everyone in the world. They wanted to get closer to that vision by creating campaigns that allow people interact directly with their product. This time, instead of getting the advertising agency to come up with TV commercial for Valentine’s Day, they reached out to independent filmmakers through crowdsourcing. They issued a creative brief asking for a Valentine’s Day campaign that’s still consistent with the brand value.
Hugh Mitton, a 23-year-old director from New Zealand, picked it up. He wanted to do something simple, get those Coke cans to as many couples as possible simultaneously. The intention is to let them share love and happiness through a can of Coke. There was only way to do it, make it rain Coke. He came close. He tied a can of Coke to balloons and let it fly over the city. The balloons with a can of Coke landed in front of couples, allowing them to share a can.
Coke debuted the TV commercial in American idol last Feb. 14. This is not the first crowdsourced or user-generated materials that has been used by a multi-national brand like Coke. Back when the internet was still young, Nike came up the Kimewaza campaign in Japan. They asked people to submit videos of people or themselves doing any kind of “killer move”. About 20 entries made it to the final TVC. However, what makes this one special is the fact that the material is going to be shown as is. Coke didn’t re-shoot the material. It is not clear whether or not they re-edited it. Whether they did or not doesn’t change the fact that this material has gone from the filmmaker to the TV sets.
The Filmmaker’s Vision and the Brand
The key in the success of this material is in the meeting of the brand vision and the filmmaker’s vision. Neither was compromised. The filmmaker wanted a simple and romantic short movie to show how a simple thing, like a can of soda, can turn a couple’s day from ordinary to extraordinary. The brand wanted to tell the story on how the brand can share love and share happiness. The filmmaker found a way to marry both. It’s really the only way a project like this will work. A filmmaker can’t expect a brand to sacrifice their vision just to promote their artistry.