Coca-Cola's New Video Proves Brand Happiness Can Be Viral

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Happiness is contagious, and that "contagious" quality is where design meets the market. Coca-Cola's Happiness Machine video is a perfect example of how viral happiness can be. The brand's first viral venture captures what happened when they placed a very special vending machine on a college campus. The video launched on January 12 and topped a million views today based solely on people sharing the video through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and word-of-mouth. The people in the video and people spreading the video will forever share a memory that cements the association of happiness with Coca-Cola.

I know I have great memories of Coca-Cola from when I was a kid. (Sorry, Pepsi.) I remember so clearly arriving in New Delhi to visit my grandparents, and then, in the midst of hottest day I'd ever seen, there was a silver tray with an ice-cold bottle of Coke. My mouth still waters as I evoke the memory.

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How can designers create these special moments—this magic? And not just "viral video" magic, but that everyday life magic of the emotional connection that bonds people with your brand. Can we conceive of the complete story and lead people down a path of creating smiles? When you design, do you think about the object, service, or experience in a way that focuses you on create an effect well over the horizon? As designers, that is our challenge. That is our mission.

I would love to know what inspiration you get out of the success of this short but engaging video.

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Ravi Sawhney is the founder and CEO of RKS, a global leader in strategy, innovation, and design. RKS has helped generate more than 150 patents on behalf of its clients, which include HP, Intel, LG, Medtronic, Seiko, Sprint, and Zyliss, among others. Sawhney invented the popular Psycho-Aesthetics® design strategy, which Harvard adopted as a Business School Case Study. He lectures at Harvard Business School, USC's Marshall School of Business, and UCLA's Anderson School of Business. Sawhney also helped found Intrigo (computer accessories), On2 Better Health (health products), and RKS Guitars (reinvented electric guitars).