With Poetic Optimism for the Future, Coca-Cola Returns After Months Away From Advertising

Open Like Never Before campaign from 72andSunny Amsterdam asks how the lockdown will have changed us

London-born George the Poet wrote and narrates the spot about how we move forward. Coca-Cola
Headshot of David Griner

As the global Covid-19 pandemic ground everyday life to a halt this spring, Coca-Cola suspended its marketing efforts to instead route more support to retailers and communities. The beverage giant also pledged more than $100 million for global relief efforts addressing the impacts of the disease.

Now the brand has returned to advertising on a dramatic and uplifting note, with a 2-minute spot from agency 72andSunny Amsterdam featuring narration by spoken word artist George the Poet.

The ad launches a campaign called Open Like Never Before, which marks both the gradual reopening of communities around the world and the ways that the isolation of quarantine has changed us as people.

“Open Like Never Before is founded in the belief that we do not have to go ‘back’ to normal,” said Walter Susini, svp of marketing across the EMEA region for Coca-Cola. “Instead we can all move forward and make the world not just different, but better. It supports and celebrates our retail partners too, including local hotels, cafes and restaurants, many of whom will be reopening their doors to communities after a very challenging time for the industry, but who have always been at the heart of our social fabric.”

While several ads in global markets have acknowledged the “new normal” of life after lockdowns, Coca-Cola’s anthem spot aims to cast a hopeful light on this period of transition and the ways Covid-19 has made people re-evaluate their priorities.

“We wanted to offer a different, positive look at what life could look like in this new normal we’re heading to,” said Laura Visco, deputy executive creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam. “The beauty of these uncertain times is that, for the first time ever in modern life, we all get to decide how ‘normal’ looks, and what we want it to be, for the first time ever. And that’s really exciting.”

The campaign will continue into 2021, with a focus on supporting industries hit hardest by the pandemic, including hotels, cafes and restaurants. Coca-Cola will also create and sponsor customizable digital ads that feature and amplify small businesses that sell its products.

The 2-minute anthem ad will run in 30- and 60-second versions internationally.

Here are the words of the poem written by London-born George the Poet, followed by the credits for the anthem spot:

Wait, stop.
Who said we have to go back to normal, back to anything?
What if the new normal ain’t the normal we knew?
And we can’t just do what we’d formerly do.
What if the big change is you and me? What if we choose to be open?And say…
I will never call my job unimportant again.
I’ll never say that teacher’s holidays are too long or that school is dry and I can’t wait to move on.
My ears are not my earphones. What if I listen.
What if I’m missing how bright your eyes glisten.
What if I just smile a bit. Travel less and love every mile of it.
What if I believe in the change my cooking, my music can do.
And what if I don’t dance, but just for you I might give in to the rhythm soon.What if I refuse to be a
stranger in my own living room.
And I’ll learn my lesson from a bad memory, and I’ll keep social distance from bad energyAnd I’ll
prove that funny beats sexy any day.But I’m still cute, anyway.
What if my dreams never take the backseat again? What if I’m there whenever you need a friend.
What if I celebrate my skin, my body, my hair, every day!Even Mondays.
I won’t waste another minute without you.
And I’ll stand by every word I sayI’ll make my vote count, make my voice heard today.
I’ll never say this city has too many tourists again.
I’ll lead, like a woman.
I’ll have a family of dozens.Give my little nephews and nieces some cousins.
I’ll stay right beside you. I’ll say Yes, Yes, Yes, I do.
I’ll never forget how much stronger we are together.I’ll carry that in my heart forever.
We’ll weather this storm.
So I’ll be…
Open like never before

CREDITS:
Executive Creative Director Carlo Cavallone
Deputy Executive Creative Director Laura Visco
Creative Director Emiliano Trierveiler
Designer Renee Lam, Masaya Kochi
Writer Constanze Bilogan
Director of Strategy            Sarah Sutton
Strategy Director Armando Potter
Comms Strategist Charlotte Rubesa
Group Brand Director Rob Conibear
Brand Director Angelina Joy
Brand Manager Marie Henaff
Brand Coordinator Mauro Sala
Executive Film Producer Jennifer Cursio
Sr Film Producer Eline Bakker
Sr Producer Nili Zadok
Business Affairs Director Selam Kehishen

FILM PRODUCTION
PRODUCTION COMPANY   new-land London

Classified – Confidential

Director Gustav Johansson, Indra Herö Wide, Marcus Ibanez
Director of Photography Martin Rudh, Steve Annis, Jamie Ramsay
Producer Trine Pillay, Mia Tidlund
Production Manager Christabelle Stone

EDITING COMPANY Cabin Editing Company
Editor Sam Ostrove/ Emma Backman

AUDIO POST Wave Studios London
Sound Designer/Mixer                       Ed Downham / Parv Thind

POST PRODUCTION Glassworks Amsterdam
Lead 2 D Artist Blake Huber
2 D Artist Alexis da Camara
Colourist Scott Harris
VFX Producer Jamie McCubbin
Chief Operating Officer Anya Kruzmetra


@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
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