Tuesday, February 23

Sharing Happiness: Coca-Cola

By now, you may have heard about the viral video, Coca-Cola "Happiness Machine," on YouTube that generated 1.5 million views in about a month. Some pros keep asking me how they hit 1.5 million views, but they're asking the wrong question.

Even reading the write up by Christine Kent doesn't tell the full story. Atlanta-based interactive agency Definition 6 shares its tactical and technical goals, and reveals that neither Definition 6 nor Coca-Cola pushed the production with a publicity campaign (an all-too-tempting component of anxious agencies and clients). They let their considerable fan base find the video and share it on their own.

Coca-Cola's "Happiness Machine" Celebrates The Brand Relationship.

The video works. It doesn't focus exclusively on the product (it even shares non-Coke products). It doesn't center on customers or demographic examples (as many social media proponents claim). Instead, it focuses on the relationship between the product and the customers, and what happens when the two come together, underscored by the social aspects — sharing Coke — between friends in a setting where spontaneity is a welcome distraction.

Two weeks ago, I shared a presentation that discusses the elements of great writing, with an emphasis on how communication needs to be accurate, clear, concise, human, and conspicuous. The Coca-Cola video hits all of these elements, effortlessly, without the need for a script beyond the concept. It also captures many of the elements that make up news — stories that people need to share.

Sure, not every company packs the power of the Coca-Cola brand nor is every brand relationship a celebration. But that is part of crafting the right message for the right audience. You have to consider every strength that can be conveyed within the context of a single memorable message.

Running two minutes in length, the Coca-Cola video does something else too. It demonstrates that advertising can easily adapt to an online environment. It might require thinking different, but that is part of the profession. Virtually every wildly successful advertisement in history broke more conventions than they followed. And that's not by accident.

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