Coca Cola Tries to Fix a Cultural Divide

Coca-Cola somehow always finds a way to insert itself into controversial cultural issues, like providing coke to impoverished countries. This time, it tries to unite people in India and Pakistan who have been culturally and politically divided with a unique interactive digital OOH experience.

Coca-Cola installed digital OOH, which projected 3D images onto touch-sensitive glass, where users in India could interact live with people in Pakistan. The unit was essentially a window into another world. The goal of the project was to unite people in both countries and fight the perception that “they’re the bad guy” and to remind them that when they meet, “[they] realize they’re just like me” and unite them over a simple beverage.

Leo Burnett Executive Creative Director Jon Wyville said, “We used special active-shutter 3-D technology that projected a streaming feed onto glass while filming through that glass at the same time. This allowed people to make direct eye contact and touch hands,” commented Leo Burnett Executive Creative Director .

People who passed the unit were tasked to approach, touch hands with a stranger from the other country, complete a task like drawing a peace sign or a heart — together. After the collaborative task was completed, each person obtained a free real coke.

<via PopSop>

Why I’m Curious

I appreciate certain aspects of this campaign, but I also wonder how people reacted during its 3 day stint.

Things I liked:

  • It tells a great brand story with a huge emotional component, even for people not closely tied with the conflict in Pakistan
  • The video positions Coca-Cola as hero, and really shows the value prop of bringing happiness to everyday moments (or not so everyday moments in this case)

Questions I have:

  • How do the majority of Indians and Pakistnis feel about a huge brand inserting itself into the conversation? Apparently there was both praise and backlash. And apparently only 10K cans of coke were distributed.
  • Did this drive any earned media within India/Pakistan? Or was this more of a PR move for its US consumers?
  • Why were the experiences not able to be shared on social media?
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