Guest Review: Coca-Cola- ‘Happiness Truck’

By Kiran Aditham 

We figured we’d try something slightly different here at the AgencySpy lair, so we’re passing the mic over to industry folks to offer their thoughts on recent ad campaigns. First up to bat is Roger Baldacci, who wants to share his views on Coke’s “Happiness Truck” effort. Baldacci is an EVP, ECD at Arnold Worldwide in Boston who currently leads creative for Carnival Cruise Lines.  He believes that teachers should make more than actors, the Patriots need a better pass rush and the karma boomerang always returns to the thrower. Take it away, Roger.

Everything you loved about the Coke cafeteria vending machine is now in convenient truck-size fun, spreading the happiness through the streets of Rio De Janeiro and beyond. One can only hope they stop in Iran. Or not.
Truth be told, I’m getting tired of this public-spectacle-marketing genre—what my former partner coined “stunt-vertising.” Let’s do something in public (real or fake), then film people with awed and/or bemused looks on their faces. And if they record it on their camera phones, you know that’s making the award show video cut.


Yet despite my distilled cynicism, I still like this effort from Coke-from their Facebook page videos to their larger Expedition 206 social media campaign. Have a Coke and a smile. I’d like to teach the world to sing. I’d like to buy the world a Coke. Happiness seems to be in their DNA and their product. At least Coke decided to own an emotion. Poor Coors opted to own a temperature.

Like many sequels, this isn’t better than the original because it’s the same plot with different characters. But what I like about these videos (the convenience store video is the best) is that they are, in fact, infectious. We as humans have a desire, a need really, to be happy. We are hard wired for it. And it takes so very little to make people happy. Watching the Happiness Truck makes me happy. It’s always a good idea to surprise and delight consumers whenever possible and the surprise element is the key here. If Coke just had street teams handing out free Coke and soccer balls would we watch it on YouTube?

Coke does not sell coronary stents, microprocessors or unmanned aerial reconnaissance drones. They sell carbonated sugar water. So it makes sense that they take happiness and run with it. Or roll with it as the case may be.