Mudra Mukesh: Are you Feeling the Happiness?

Mudra Mukesh: Are you Feeling the Happiness?

Coca Cola has moved away from it’s previous global marketing campaign “Open Happiness” to a “one brand” strategy where all products – Coca Cola Classic, Zero, Diet and Life will use similar iconography and would be accompanied by the same campaign – “Taste the Feeling”.

Usually such a move is driven by some clear strategy in mind – in the case of Coca Cola as well – they wanted to capitalise on the brand equity of Coca Cola Classic and leverage that onto other products under the umbrella – Diet Coke, Coca Cola Zero, and Coca Cola Life. It also stems from confusion among consumers about the differences between each of these similar sounding/looking products. Coca Cola has vowed to give these products more screen time in ads (using black, silver and green on screen) and also more information on packaging labels.
Open Happiness” is an award winning campaign and was running well for the last seven years. Classical conditioning enthusiasts such as myself would state associating happiness with coke was a smart move. So what prompted the change? According to Coca Cola they don’t want to position Coca Cola as an icon” but a simple pleasure. The TV commercial is a beautifully stitched montage of people doing things and Coca Cola being an integral part of that moment which is not necessarily happiness. I get it. Makes sense. Coca Cola is not dictating what exactly people feel (happiness) anymore, but are asking them to focus on the “feeling” of opening a can and having a Coca Cola with ice. However when I did a little impromptu focus group the other day among my students to understand their “feelings”, they didn’t quite like the new strategy. They said “open happiness” was more resonant and concrete with the Coca Cola brand (perhaps since it had been running for a while) and “taste the feeling” sounded ambiguous. They were worried it could be interpreted in a wrong way. What if no one felt anything? In that case the prescription of “Happiness” might have served better. While I see their point, only time will tell how effective this new strategy is turning out to be.

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Would you rather “Open Happiness” or “Taste the Feeling”?
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Meanwhile out of the several 60 second TV spots that were released as a part of the “Taste the Feeling” global campaign, here is my favourite (Brotherly Love set to the song Hey Brother by Avicii)

After watching all these Coca Cola spots, I think I am “feeling” the need for a refreshing beverage.

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