Coke Officially ‘Opens Happiness’

Coca-Cola is set to convince the world that it should “Open happiness.” The No. 1 cola company is in the process of rolling out its new global ad campaign that aims to bring forth a message of optimism while also poking fun at its closely-held secret formula.

A flurry of new TV, print, out-of-home, online and in-store materials are kicking off throughout the month. The centerpiece of the effort is two new Coke Super Bowl spots. One, called “Avatar,” plays off of the “isolationism” people are feeling in the digital age, said Coca-Cola North America CMO Katie Bayne. “It is about opening up the human connection again.”

In the ad, a young male walks among a series of people who are turning into computer avatars. He bumps up against a mean-looking troll who also grabs for his Coke at a diner. They both smile and the avatar turns into a young woman with whom he begins chatting.

The second Super Bowl spot, “Heist,” stars a series of animated insects working in unison 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, also will 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. Wieden+Kennedy’s offices in Portland, Ore., and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, are lead agencies on the campaign.

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. And, “Castle cookout” shows a mashup of B-movies where warriors stop and celebrate over some Coke and a barbecue. Another spot called “Portal” plugs its recycling program.

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 which 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 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, which broke on Monday.

As part of its “red, black and silver” strategy, Coke will also debut a new Coke Zero spot, starring the Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, during the Super Bowl. New 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-oz. bottles nationally. The smaller size carries a bigger, bolder logo.

Coke executives would not quantify spending behind the Coke trademark. Last year it spent $179 million behind Coke, Coke Zero and Diet Coke for the first 11 months of the year (not including online expenditures), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The year prior, it spent $203 million.