While overall confidence in the economy is slowly improving, consumers can still use some holiday cheer this year. That's the thinking behind Coca-Cola's new global campaign, which breaks next month.
The effort brings together a cast of iconic Coca-Cola characters—Santa Claus, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and Christmas Caravan delivery trucks—and features new music by rock band Train. TV spots, digital and in-store ads are breaking in 90 markets.
One spot, titled "Snow Globe," opens with scenes of people who are feeling lonely—a young man working a late shift, for instance. When the camera zooms out, it’s revealed that these people exist inside Santa’s snow globe. After taking a sip of Coke, Santa "shakes" things up and brings the lonely people together. "Shake Up Christmas" is a song performed by Train exclusively for the spot.
"The campaign [via McCann Erickson] is centered on the idea that people can find happiness through moments of personal connections that are inspired by Coca-Cola," said Alejandro Ferrer, senior global brand manager for the Coca-Cola brand. "We collaborated with Train for the music because we know that they create the kind of instant classic song that would get people in the holiday spirit."
This is not the first time that Coke has tried to spread holiday joy. The new campaign is an extension of “Open Happiness,” which launched last year. That effort included a Simpsons Super Bowl spot in which grocery store owner Abu introduced a depressed Mr. Burns to the bright side of life.
In fact, other marketers have used the "happiness" theme to boost the spirits of recession-weary consumers for some time now, which raises questions about whether the strategy is overused. But Scott Morgan, president of Pittsburgh-based ad agency Brunner, said the sentiment, if anything, is still relevant. "Consumer confidence is up—even if [it's] still at historic lows," said Morgan. "And come on, it's the holidays."
Train, meanwhile, is helping promote the Coke campaign by performing "Shake Up Christmas" during the band's live concert tour.
In the U.S., Coca-Cola spent $94 million on advertising last year, and $102 million through the first eight months of this year, excluding online, per the Nielsen Co.