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Target: Male videogamers
A car in a videogame careens through the streets of a city. The owner, a guy in a leather jacket and aviator glasses steps out and into a bodega named Fung’s Mini. The startled owner raises his hands as if he’s being held up. The leather jacket grabs a bottle of Coke out of a cooler and slams payment down onto the counter as the store owner looks grunts, surprised that he is not being robbed. Leather jacket pulls a preppy who has been driving erratically out of his convertible and hands him a bottle of the Coke. They drink together. We hear a homeless main strumming a singing “Give a little love and it all comes back to you.” Leather jacket walks past a fire in a steel barrel and puts it out with a fire extinguisher that clicks into his hand with the sound of weapons being changed in a videogame. An armored car guard drops a bag of cash and leather jacket flips it back to the guard. He stops a mugger and gives an old lady back her purse as the music swells “You’re gonna be remembered for the things you say and do. You give a little love and it all comes back to you.” The city is transformed by these good deeds and people come together into a musical dance number.
This brilliant take on the Grand Theft Auto genre by Wieden + Kennedy and Nexus Productions effectively takes the Coca-Cola brand positioning into the videogame world. Grand Theft Auto is the leader in an immensely popular genre of PS2 and Xbox videogames that are played by teens and 20- and 30-something men. The genre depicts lawless cities where the player is a two-bit street tough trying to work his way up the criminal food chain. Acts of violence and lawlessness are encouraged and necessary to win the game.
Enter Coca-Cola. As this advertising blog has long argued (back to here), Coca-Cola is most effective when it is a social connector that creates shared happiness. Along with two other innovative spots, this effort convinces us that Wieden + Kennedy is the first creative shop in a long time to really understand brand Coca-Cola. Their work with The Coke Side of Life and Happiness Factory has helped reestabish the brand as an authentic creator of social connections and producer of happiness. There is good research to back up this positioning and Coca-Cola has known for decades that the craving that Coke drinkers experience for Coca-Cola when they eat pizza or go to a social event is psychological as well as physiological. In other words, our soul craves Coca-Cola as well as our body. This happens because we associate the drink with happy times and celebration. The job of the brand positioning is to refine and support this subconscious association and to make it relevant to new generations.
This spot does an excellent job of creating cultural relevance by upending the violent videogame genre with wit and sensitivity. This spot will appeal to games and non-gamers and the production values are excellent. By staying close to the core brand positioning for Coca-Cola, Wieden has also made a spot that could not be copied by Pepsi.
This advertising blog thinks this is a very slick spot that will be effective with its intended audience. Looking at three recent spots coming out of W&K (albeit Happiness Factory was from W&K Amsterdam, not Portland), one does have to wonder if there will be too much creative diversity on the brand. The creativity and effectiveness of each spot is impressive, but there is a danger that by executing against too many widely divergent creative concepts, W+K and Coca-Cola may lose the benefits of a more consistent campaign, particularly with longterm recall of the brand message.
Branding Bottom Line:
Coca-Cola scores at the video arcade.