Coca Cola’s Peace Venture

Mission Accomplished
Mission Accomplished

Coca Cola is by far my favorite beverage brand. The fact that they have created a brand based on “happiness” and customer satisfaction makes it that much easier to adore their efforts. When I saw this ad, I was even more touched by the company. When a company as large as Coca Cola commits themselves to actually living out their brand and expressing their identity, it strengthens and grows their consumer base and their already appreciative audience.

In this ad, Coca Cola and Leo Burnett set out to create happiness between the complicated relationship of Pakistan and India using the simple message of “happiness”.

Adweek’s Gabriel Beltrone describes his opinion of the ad in the weekly breakdown: 

"Touching" Worlds
“Touching” Worlds

“The political element raises the stakes considerably, though. Cola diplomacy runs the risk of coming across as painfully naive by oversimplifying a complex issue that’s tangled up in a long history of imperialism, religious conflict and nuclear stand-off, to name a few factors. Coke frames this powder keg of a problem as, on some level, simply one of miscommunication—because that’s small enough that the brand can then frame itself as the solution…But really, what the brand is taking minor steps toward is selling more sugar water in a way that isn’t explicitly about selling more sugar water, and has at least the veneer of a higher purpose.”

While I completely understand and partly agree with Beltrone’s analysis of Coca Cola’s effort, I think the issue at hand is much simpler.

Youth United
Youth United

If Coca Cola had decided to actually insert themselves into the thorny relationship between Pakistan and India, what would that look like? An American corporation intervening in international political affairs with no prior experience or with any right. What can Coke do? It would be completely ineffective if not unheard of and no one would ever do that. The other option is to do nothing and remain indifferent about world issues as a large corporation.

Or you take the middle path, creating a simple communicative way for the younger demographic to interact. Nothing too invasive or politically charged, just simple interactions of tracing, dancing, drawing, waving and laughing. This effort by Coca Cola established the perfect mix of social awareness with appropriate corporate effort. It brings attention to the issues surrounding the Pakistan and India conflict while staying surface level enough to keep it fun and innovative. Coca Cola’s goal of “create a simple moment of connection” was accomplished.

Small steps to solve big issues
Small steps to solve big issues

The Huffington Post’s Dominique Mosbergen posted praise over the campaign, “Admittedly, it’s hard to ignore the video’s promotional gimmicks: Coke cans are dispensed whenever someone fulfills an instruction, for example. Nevertheless, the warm smiles and frank willingness of the people in the video — people usually divided by armed barriers and political enmity — to connect with each other will touch your heart.”

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