Coke’s new ‘Reasons to Believe’ is…unbelievable

The same debate has probably been going on for nearly 40 years in Coke HQ Atlanta: why don’t we give ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’ a modern update? It was, after all, arguably the company’s most successful campaign although fearsomely open to criticism and parody from the quite large part of the world’s population who didn’t see Coca-Cola as such a Carpenters-style agent for good (below).

Well braver spirits at Coke, with a degree of nudging from agency Ogilvy no doubt, appear to have prevailed with this ‘Reasons To Believe’ opus, part of Coke’s never-ending ‘Open Happiness’ campaign.

Well the singing’s OK but Coke pontificating about arms manufacture? Too presumptuous surely – especially given that the Coca-Cola company has probably contributed more than its fair share of dollars to the political sponsors of countless US armoured vehicles.

Then, still in pursuit of global optimism, to switch to football (can we have an ad these days without football or, in the US, basketball?) with the intelligence that there are 12 times as many ‘hugs’ on the pitch as red cards (does Opta tell us this?) is banal.

There are some things that brands and ads should stay out of, surely?

Update

We thought this campaign was an accident waiting to happen and so it’s proving.

Coke has dropped one bit of the ad depicting a gay marriage (from Australia) for screenings in Ireland, saying that gay marriages aren’t currently legal in that firmly Catholic country. So what – isn’t the ad supposed to be about changing the world for the better? At this rate two and a half minutes will end up as a snappy thirty seconds.

What cowardy custards these big corporations are.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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