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Brief Published: 20 Jan 2016

Coke Gets Real With New Ad Strategy

For the past seven years, Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy has been based around the “Open Happiness” concept. Led by marketing guru Wendy Clark, the Happiness campaigns saw Coke act as a global do-gooder across a variety of issues, from online bullying to sustainability.

Clark thought big, driving incredibly innovative strategies such as Coke’s real-time media production facilities the Hub and the Hustle (see Cannes Lions 2014: Future Marketing Strategies), and virtual reality experiments at the 2014 World Cup (see Rewiring Advertising).

Clark has now departed for global ad agency DDB, replaced at Coke by Marco de Quinto, previously head of the company’s Iberian division. As outlined in a recent interview with US advertising magazine Ad Age, De Quinto has ditched the ‘Happiness’ message – which he decided had become “preachy” – to tap into the “humbleness [and] simplicity” of the core Coke brand.

Its new global campaign is called “Taste the Feeling”, and aims to tap into the trend of “everyday moments” we explore in Get Real. The campaign is “very much about living in the intimacy and simplicity of… moments,” De Quinto told Ad Age. The main ad spot, ‘Anthem’, places Coke at the heart of just such a series of basic, everyday, human experiences.

De Quinto is also bringing all Coke variants together under this one consistent brand message. He told Ad Age it’s about reconnecting with younger Gen Z audiences who “have not heard about most of the product benefits". As such, his strategy aims to focus more on the product than spreading a conceptual brand vision – it’s quite deliberately about selling more Cokes.

See our Macro Trend Get Real for more on trends of simplicity, intimacy, and everyday moments.