Once again, Coca-Cola, the brand that never sleeps, is here with something new. This time, the campaign concept dubbed Real Magic is rooted in the insight that magic lives in unexpected moments of connection that elevate every day into the extraordinary timeless learning that feels more relevant than ever in today’s hyperconnected yet divided world. Let’s take a walk down memory lane of the different ways that the brand has evolved over the years.
In many Kenyan traditions, we look forward to travelling upcountry over Christmas. It’s a way to bring the extended family together and to express gratitude for good health and the blessings bestowed on us.
You have probably heard the popular joke about how on many occasions, you will hear someone say, “Soda ni za watu wa Nairobi,” or, in English, “Only people from Nairobi get to drink soda.” In retrospect, this suggests that soda is a precious commodity, and only belongs to those who are ‘deserving’ of it. For some unknown reason, Nairobians belong to this category.
Growing up, we would carry crates of soda from Nairobi and share them with all the villagers. It was truly the most wonderful time of the year. The family would connect and bond over Coke, Fanta, and Sprite. We loved it. We were fixing things, and soda was now for everyone, not just for the people of Nairobi.
Over the years, the Coca-Cola brand has evolved, and yet, not once has it disappointed us. Coke brings people together. It unites us, not only as a nation but the whole world. In whichever country you travel to, you are likely to find Coca-cola and bond with people over the refreshing and fabulous variants of drink. Let’s take a look at the evolution of the Coca-Cola brand philosophies in the 21st Century.
1. Life tastes good
The year was 2001, and we were filled with the excitement of ushering in a new century. Not many people get to witness two different centuries. It was a big deal, and Coca-Cola was there to show us that Life Tastes Good. The aim of the global advertising campaign was to “reassert the bigness, the magic of brand Coke,” according to the Atlanta-based soft drink company’s chief marketing officer. The campaign managed to recapture the everyday optimism of life. Just like with all other campaigns, it was vibrant and extremely captivating.
All the different Coca-Cola flavours reassure you of one thing – an authentic and refreshing taste. In fact, the authenticity of its taste is what makes it preferred in many countries. There’s nothing quite similar to Coca-Cola. This wasn’t, in fact, the first or last time that Coca-Cola used the word real in its promotion. Executives at Coca-Cola and its ad agencies, McCann-Erickson Worldwide Advertising in New York and Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, said the campaign aimed to link the brand with the notion of authenticity and genuine moments in people’s lives.
By using recording artists like Mya, a rhythm and blues singer, and the actresses Penelope Cruz and Courtney Cox Arquette, they also hope to connect with a younger audience that had increasingly forsaken colas.
The word real is in great alignment with the Coca-Cola brand. In 2003, they went ahead to launch the campaign headlined Make it real. This went hand in hand with the brand’s values, including passion and quality. It is a brand driven by the desire to inspire a positive change – a change that encompasses the whole world, every single community. For this and other reasons, Coca-Cola continues to enjoy its position as the #1 bestselling beverage around the world.
4. The Coke Side of life
In 2006, Coca-Cola went ahead to launch a campaign with the slogan, ‘The Coke Side of life.’ One of the main goals of this campaign was to try to ‘correct misperceptions’ about the brand and increase flagging sales. The campaign went ahead to win Coca-Cola the Gold and Silver Lion awards in the Film category at the 54th annual Cannes International Advertising Festival in France.
5. Open happiness
You know that feeling, on a hot day, when you get to open a bottle of soda, and out comes the fizz together with the refreshing taste and scent? The Open happiness slogan, in 2009, was accompanied by a number of popular ad campaigns that spoke volume about the brand’s mission, vision, and values.Most of the campaigns were built around the subject of peace, tolerance, inclusion, diversity, and coexistence.
With this slogan, Coca-Cola rebranded itself into a company that truly cares about things that matter – about humanity and the challenges it faces.It became more than just a soda company and set an example for other brands to follow.
6. Share a Coke
The Share a Coke campaign launched in 2011 was possibly one of the most remarkable and brilliant advertising campaigns in history. It involved changing the traditional wrapping around the Coca-Cola bottle to say ‘Share a Coke with…’ and a popular name.
The purpose of the campaign was to create a more personal relationship with consumers and inspire shared moments of happiness. There was something fascinating about finding your name branded on a coke bottle, or buying your friend a bottle with their name on it. The Share a Coke campaign brought many people together. It embraced the spirit of giving and sharing with others.
7. Taste the feeling
The Coca-Cola brand has over the last couple of years evoked positive emotions that encourage consumers to purchase their products. The Taste the feeling campaign in 2016 aimed to do just that. “Taste the Feeling” reinforced the company’s commitment to choice.It signifies how there is Coca-Cola for everyone no matter their taste, lifestyle, and dietary preferences.
8. Real Magic
This year, Coca-Cola has yet another wonderful surprise for us. The Real Magic has recently been launched and is set to take off. The brand is highlighting and sharing the Real Magic™ moments in our everyday lives. The aim of the campaign is to connect and champion the diverse lives of Coca-Cola drinkers around the world like never before, with the aim of uniting and uplifting people in moments of Real Magic.
Under the Real Magic campaign, ‘One Coke Away From Each Other’ is the first marketing campaign. Blending real and virtual worlds, ‘One Coke Away From Each Other’ is a metaphor that speaks to the belief that what unites us is greater than what sets us apart and celebrates our common humanity, in the simple act of coming together over a Coke.
The campaign is built for and with a community that demands something different than what you may have come to expect from Coca-Cola. In venturing into gaming, Coca-Cola has partnered with creators, with gamers, with Twitch, and with others to find the place in reality. The film features three of the world’s leading gaming influencers – Alan Walker, Aerial Powers and Average Jonas. Each appears in the film and will be working with Coca-Cola to engage with their fan base and wider audiences.
Coca-Cola will be collaborating with artists, photographers, and illustrators, to bring the concept of Real Magic to life. Through their own distinct and unfiltered lenses, they will bring moments of everyday magic to life in ways that are inclusive and
collective, yet also individual and expressive.
In the blink of an eye, 2021 is coming to an end, and that means we get to celebrate Christmas once more. The last two years have been characterised by social distancing and other safety precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic. It has all been so heavy with the lockdown that forced us to stay indoors and/or confined to a particular place. Some of us have even lost our loved ones. This has undoubtedly affected our social lives, and it has been quite difficult to meet our loved ones, especially before we started getting vaccinated.
While we are not out of the woods yet, there are quite a few things to celebrate, including the administration of COVID-19 vaccines and the end of the lockdown. Last year many of us were unable to meet our loved ones over the holidays but this year we have a chance to reconnect with them in the Kenyan way. Whether it be through travelling upcountry, eating good food or going on vacation, the one thing that can never miss out on the Christmas menu is Coke. It is, indeed, the real magic.
My name is Laura Ayienga, a 25-year-old writer & marketer, experiencing the highs (not claiming the lows) of life. I discovered my passion for writing on this very blog back in 2019 and since then, I’ve been using it to express myself as candidly and authentically as possible.