Ad of the Day: Coke Embraces the Fist Bump and Gets Serious About True Friendship

Showing teens how not to be cruel at 'crossroads moments'

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Coca-Cola has embraced a useful visual shorthand for friendship—the fist bump—in its new marketing in Latin America. But that's just the beginning of a campaign that talks frankly to teens about stepping up for friends in difficult moments.

The work, by Pereira & O'Dell, includes Web films, social activation, mobile, print, TV, radio, packaging and out-of-home. The fist bump is being employed most notably within Coke's iconic white ribbon on a red background—it will even be on the packaging, and on merchandise including T-shirts and iPhone cases. (This isn't the first reworking of the white ribbon—Ogilvy won a Grand Prix at Cannes in 2012 for its own version of it.)

The broader Pereira & O'Dell campaign focuses on friendship by framing it against its opposite—the cruelty, loneliness and isolation that can be worse than ever nowadays because of cyberbullying. It's a theme Coke tried to tackle on the Super Bowl. But that work, with its grand visual metaphor for spreading good vibes online, felt a bit removed from the real social difficulties teens face. By contrast, this new work feels fresh and immediate.

The campaign suggests that shared moments offer a sense of identity and belonging. And in three short Web films (two have been released so far), high schoolers step up for their friends at crucial times—when it's uncomfortable, and requires bravery, to do so.

"The Rumor" is about a breakup and some scandalous gossip that ensues:

"Something Unexpected" deals with dating and an embarrassing moment in class:

"Coca-Cola is shedding light on what we're referring to as 'crossroad moments.' These are the times when friends can choose to step up for a friend in need selflessly," says P.J. Pereira, chief creative officer of Pereira & O'Dell. "We hope these scenarios inspire conversation among teens and put a spotlight on how we can choose not to be cruel to another human being, especially with words."

The campaign calls for teens to show not just friendship but "true friendship." The hashtag is #VerdaderoAmigo. The insight is that a true friend is the most valuable commodity at a time when cruelty is everywhere.

There is a TV spot as well, showing another moment of friendship in a time of crisis:

The stories are well told and memorable, and feel like they might actually have an effect on behavior, even if the fist bumps and product integrations at the end of each spot feel a little shoehorned in and overly commercial.

One Direction's "Clouds" is the featured theme music across the campaign. The band will also appear in Coke print ads and Vines. The brand is also working with MTV on short documentaries about digital influencers and their own crossroad moments. Finally, the campaign will also feature Vines, print and a choose-your-own-adventure interactive video staring soccer players such as Javier "Chicharito" Hernández and Raúl Jimenez.

Print work and credits below:


Client: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Latin America

IMC Director LATAM: Marta Fontcuberta

IMC Director: Ismael Pascual

Content Excellence Director: Diego Bracamontes

Coca–Cola IMC Sr. Manager: Eduardo Ruiz

Coca–Cola IMC Manager: Layla del Razo

Coca–Cola IMC Jr. Manager: Adriana Sahagun

Coca-Cola Trademark Brand Director: José Luis Basauri

Coca-Cola Brand Director: Unai Alvarez

Coca-Cola Brand Manager: Valeria Lopez

Coca-Cola Design Team

Global Design Director: Rapha Abreu

Vice President Design: James Sommerville

Senior Global Design Director: Tom Farrell

Global Design Project Manager: Craig Stroud

Global Designer: Chrsitine M Lee

Global Designer: Megan Libby

Sr. Design Manager: Aidee Rodriguez

Agency: Pereira & O'Dell

Chief Creative Officer: P.J. Pereira

Executive Creative Director: Jaime Robinson

Creative Directors: Rob Lambrechts, Rafael Rizuto

Senior Art Director: Luke Acret

Senior Copywriter: Omid Amid

Senior Designer: Moses Kelany

Chief Strategy Officer: Ana Cortat

Strategist: Sara Lezama

Senior Film Producer: Victoria Whitlow

Co-Director, Client Services: Henry Arlander

Account Director: Mona Gonzalez

Account Executive: Rose Valderrama

Trailer, Interactive Editor: Collin Kriner

Vice President, Distribution: Josh Brandau

Project Manager: Lauren Parker

Business Affairs Director: Russ Nadler

VP Production: Jeff Ferro

Sr. Production Designer: Aaron Rodriguez

Visual Effects: Laundry!

Editing: Umlaut Films

Editor: Alex Rodríguez

Poster Designer: Erik Buckham

Illustrator, Retoucher: Adhemas Batista

Theme Music: One Direction, "Clouds"

Music Supervisor: Aminé Ramer

Original Score Composer: Grayson Sanders for Music Dealers

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.