Coca-Cola exits self-imposed marketing lockdown with a manifesto for change by George The Poet and 72andSunny

Covid-19 has caused most of us to pause for thought, and it seems that Coca-Cola is no different. This new film is a grandiose rejection of the old normal and a call for us all to embrace change and be “Open Like Never Before.”

With obesity at the top of the agenda, we might not want to hear this from a fizzy drinks firm, but Coca-Cola has pre-empted this by pursuing two routes to credibility.

First is George The Poet, whose podcast and interest in social and political issues (plus a sense of humour) make him the perfect mouthpiece for this campaign.

Second is Coca-Cola’s own determination to be seen to be doing good in the crisis. It suspended marketing activity for the last few months, redirected resources towards supporting its bottling and retail partners, and donated $100m to relief efforts.

Coca-Cola’s SVP Marketing EMEA, Walter Susini, describes the work as “not just a campaign, it’s an extension of our purpose,” and says that the goal is to “refresh the world” by outlining “a better normal not a new normal.”

Much of the new campaign will focus on supporting local hotels, cafes and restaurants — individual outlets will be able to customise the ads to use for their own social media — but there will also be an OOH presence, including big sites like Piccadilly Circus. On selected sites, you can scan the poster to hear George The Poet’s full poem on your phone.

George The Poet said: “The underlying message of this campaign is close to my heart. During my career I’ve always had to be open to the idea of change – switching from rap to poetry, from music to podcasts – being open gives you an advantage in all aspects of life. Covid-19 gave me a moment to reflect at a time when the world came to standstill, made me more patient and adapt to different ways of working. Going forward I’m going to do what I can to seize the moment and be open to change like never before.”

Emiliano Trieveiler, Creative Director, 72andSunny Amsterdam, said: “The idea of openness in these times carried such courage and optimism that we immediately felt it was something Coke could truly own. To appreciate everything that matters, like never before.”

Coke as a philanthropist is still hard to swallow, and this ad has a generic feel that could be applied to any brand, but its heart is in the right place.

MAA creative scale: 7

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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