Coca-Cola Demands You Choose Happiness in This Gritty Anthem Ad for Europe

Ogilvy Amsterdam's debut on the brand

Coca-Cola isn't just a soft drink. It's an essential part of the human experience—the key to true happiness—says a grand new ad from the brand in Europe. So, suck up your laziness and bootstrap yourself some soda.

The 70-second anthem by Ogilvy & Mather Amsterdam (it's the office's first work for the brand) introduces a new theme, "Choose Happiness," and continues Coke's tradition of casting itself as synonymous with joy. But it takes a more aggressive tone than usual. Not only can you be happy, you should be happy, right now, and all you have to do is reach out and grab it. That Coke, right there on the shelf, that is.

Set to a song and rap by Amsterdam-based HT, the spot (plus a more exhausting, full-blown branded music video, complete with an indecipherable hook) argues that happiness is a choice. Which is sort of true in some contexts, but is also oversimplified advertising-speak.

The broad-reaching argument rests in large part on urging you to consider all the dandy things your hands can do. They can make beats, and hold jump ropes, and give hugs. (Incidentally, Coke would also like you to know your hands can make the shape of Coke bottles, if you join them together with other hands.)

The spot deserves credit for including moments that aren't totally pollyanna—there's a lover's spat, and even a pseudo-political statement encouraging protest. But it's also a bit divorced from reality. If you have a hard time smiling with a face full of pepper spray, try washing that down with a Coke—it might settle your stomach, too.

Naturally, what Coca-Cola really means by "Choose Happiness" is that you should choose among the red, green, black and white versions of its product. The branding at the end of the spot includes four bottles—representing Coke's Classic, Life, Zero and Diet offerings—part of a new European strategy to lift the profile of the smaller brands by attaching them to marquee advertising.

That may or may not work, but the creative approach in the anthem spot stems from a familiar problem for any soda marketer: It can't pitch the product on the grounds that you actually need it, so it has to manufacture your desire as well. This is how you should be living, the ad says, in an overbearing, if still somewhat convincing, attempt to lift millennial spirits by pandering to vain conceptions of empowerment.

The extended version:


Client: Coca-Cola

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Amsterdam

Chief Creative Officer: Ogilvy Darre van Dijk

Sr. Copywriter Ogilvy: Jesse Ridder

Sr. Art Director Ogilvy: Jurriaan van Bokhoven

Agency Producer Ogilvy: Pirke Bergsma

Client Services Director Ogilvy: Annelouk Kriele

Account Director Ogilvy: Frouke Vlietstra

Director Caviar: Arnaud Uyttenhove

Executive Producer Caviar: Eva van Riet

Producer Caviar: Lynn Bernaerts

Producer Caviar: Neil Cray

DOP: Dimitri Karakatsanis

Editor the Whitehouse: Martin leRoy

Editor Gentlemen's Club: Will Judge

Editor Kapsalon: Brian Ent

Colourist Glassworks: Scott Harris

Colourist Glassworks: Matt Hare

Flame Glassworks: Kyle Obley

Nuke Glassworks: Jos Wabeke

Executive Producer Glassworks: Jane Bakx

Producer Glassworks: Christian Downes

Sound engineer Wave: Randall McDonald

Music Ogilvy: Darius Dante

VO: Haris Trnjanin (HT)

Client Coca-Cola: Guido Rosales

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