Coke Tells World to 'Open Happiness'

Crowning the effort are two new Coke Super Bowl spots

– Kenneth Hein, Brandweek

NEW YORK Coca-Cola is gearing up to convince the world that it should “Open happiness” via a new global ad campaign that also pokes fun at the cola giant’s closely held secret formula. A flurry of TV, print, out-of-home, online and in-store materials are kicking off throughout the month.

Crowning the effort are two new Coke Super Bowl spots. One, called “Avatar,” plays off the “isolationism” people feel in the digital age, said Coke North America CMO Katie Bayne. “It is about opening up the human connection again,” she said.

In the ad, a young male walks among people who transform into computer avatars. In a diner, he and a mean-looking ogre grab for the same bottle of Coke. They both smile and the avatar turns into a young woman with whom he begins chatting.

The second Super Bowl spot, “Heist,” features animated insects working to steal a bottle of Coke from a man who is napping in a field.

Bayne identified these spots as the “big, iconic” work that will air globally.

Three global spots called “Crave,” “Library” and the third installment of “Happiness Factory,” which shows the animated machinations of the inside of a Coke machine, will also soon debut.

In the meantime, three new U.S. spots have fun with Coke’s secret formula while playing up “energy, taste and refreshment,” said Bayne.

One ad called “Two Guys” imagines how terrible the world would be if Coke’s formula disappeared. “Swelter Stopper” shows two animated monsters finding peace after chugging the contents of a Coke delivery truck. “Castle Cookout” is a mash-up of B-movie scenes where warriors celebrate with Cokes and a barbecue. Yet another spot, called “Portal,” plugs the company’s recycling program.

Independent Wieden + Kennedy, working from its offices in Portland, Ore., and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, serves as Coke’s lead agency.

The campaign is an evolution of “Welcome to the Coke side of life.” Bayne said the prior effort served as a bridge from past ads that were “too contextual. We showed what it was like to be young and having fun and, by the way, there was a Coke there.”

Each new TV ad carries a five-note mnemonic that will be featured in all ads moving forward. Coke also has a new jingle with the refrain “Open up some happiness.” Five artists teamed to record the track, most notably Cee-Lo from Gnarls Barkley. It will be featured in ads and available for download at iTunes. Cee-Lo also lends his voice to the Super Bowl spot “Avatar.”

Supporting print includes a Black History Month-themed ad that broke on Monday.

As part of its “red, black and silver” strategy, Coke will also debut a new Coke Zero spot, starring Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, during the Super Bowl. Fresh Diet Coke work will break during the Academy Awards.

Focusing on the Coke trademark is essential, said global CMO Joe Tripodi: “If Coke isn’t keeping the lights on and paying the bills we have a big problem.”

To help continue to lure drinkers in a down economy, it is rolling out its new 99-cent, 16-ounce bottles nationally. The smaller size carries a bigger, bolder logo.

Coke executives would not quantify spending behind the Coke trademark. Last year it spent $180 million behind Coke, Coke Zero and Diet Coke for the first 11 months of the year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The year prior, it spent $200 million-plus.