Coca-Cola’s new campaign by Ogilvy & Mather NZ is, like some of its recent international efforts, less about fizzy brown liquid making people happy and more about people making people happy, with its 'Make Someone Happy' campaign featuring a guy who installs swings around the place for anyone to use, and a girl who chalks up hopscotch drawings on the pavement.
The campaign is part of Coca-Cola’s long-running 'Open Happiness' comms strategy and encourages viewers to share their own happiness-generating acts on social media using the hashtag #makinghappynz (so far there's just one Tweet).
Marketing manager Heidi Somerville says in a release that Coca-Cola has stood for happiness for over 125 years, and the latest campaign is built on the insight that making other people happy makes us happier in return.
“Our new campaign launches our vision to inspire Kiwis to make people happy by doing something in their everyday lives to bring a smile to others’ faces. We want to encourage everyone to find something unique they can do themselves however big or small it might be,” she says.
The ad was shot in locations throughout Auckland (sadly the swings and hopscotch were removed after filming). The other agencies involved included Ikon Communications doing the media, Copper doing the experiential, Satellite Media doing the digital, and FCB on PR. Coca-Cola brand manager Catherine Woodley says a version of this ad has also been rolled out in other countries.
The TVC first went to air on July 20, and will be supported by OOH media, Facebook, in-store POS and the hashtag.
Woodley says it’s too early to say how the campaign is going.
“There has been some use of the hashtag. It’s early days for the campaign, with significant amounts of activation and marketing support to over the next few months,” she says.
Internationally, Coca-Cola has been on a bit of roll with its happiness/sharing/togetherness-related activations, like recent campaigns that required a friend's bottle to help you open yours, a vending machine that aimed to inspire better relations between Pakistan and India and a campaign aimed at inspiring more recycling.
“The Coke brand platform has always been about happiness. Evolving this idea to making other people happy is a natural evolution for the brand,” says Woodley.
Coca-Cola has been struggling to counter the perception that it's peddling unhealthy products. To its credit, it has admitted it plays a role in the obesity epidemic and has made a range of commitments to address it, like a range of healthier options and smaller serving sizes and the launch of the Move60 platform to inspire more activity. But the focus on happiness in its marketing continues and, on the Coca Cola journey webpage, there’s an interview with Ruut Veenhoven, a sociology professor at the University of Rotterdam and a member of the advisory board for the Happiness Institute, who says happy people are also healthier, and that’s why they live longer, too.
“There is now a vast amount of empirical evidence on this. I have analysed 30 different studies on the effect of happiness on health, and it shows: happy, fun-loving people recover quicker from illness and live longer lives. Especially in predominantly healthy populations, the effect of a positive attitude on life expectancy is roughly the same as not smoking.”
When asked whether being healthy and drinking soft drink are difficult concepts to market together, Coca-Cola replies: “Coca-cola can be enjoyed as part of a healthy active lifestyle."
Even though the beverage might not be great for our physique, it may bring some form of happiness—in children, anyway. A few years ago a study was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies thta found fast food and soft drink consumption was positively correlated with children’s risk of being overweight, but negatively correlated with unhappiness.