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.

Read more of Ravi Sawhney's Design Reach blog
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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).

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24 Comments

  • EO11111

    Is this all Coke has to do to distract people from the reality? Absolutely disgusting. 

    Enjoy your "brilliant company"

    http://www.newjerseynewsroom.c... r-negative-treatment-of-workers-and-environment
    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com... 

    Note that this is done on a college campus, perhaps that has something to do with that over 50 universities have already begun boycotting the company for their inhumane treatment of workers and destruction of the environment. But apparently the video has worked on everyone who commented on this since the only negative thing to be said about it is the fact that it is "unhealthy".

  • Meg

    Coke is a brilliant company. It's one of my very favorite drinks, but I rarely drink it because it's so shit for my body. It's too bad that brands and companies that are actually beneficial to society don't have this kind of influence.

  • Karen Richardson

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

    If you give people something free, they like it.  People like getting something for nothing, (or in this case, a lot for not very much)

  • David Molden

    Ha, ha, brilliant! Make people feel good - this is what marketing and brand awareness is all about, and Coke are the masters. Beyond features and benefits you have feel good which is where brand positioning needs to be.

    Nice one Coca Cola!

    www.quadrant1.com

  • Dan Sheehan

    I believe that Ravi's intention when writing his blog article was to point out the deep emotional connection that products and brands are capable of developing with the user. In this case, Coke's Happy Machine is a success. Set aside the fact that the product is not healthy or that the company is responsible for many negative social issues.

    Great design makes people smile. Great design evokes emotion. Great design connects us in ways we never knew possible. Great design can change the world. Thanks for reminding us Ravi!

  • Stephen Voltz

    I love this video. It does an awful lot right. Mostly, it makes me smile, and I'll pass something like that on.

    But its not quite the first viral video, or viral video success, Coke has had. Back in '06' – '07, they sponsored EepyBird's sequel to the classic Diet Coke and Mentos video, and did pretty well with it. Over 8 million views as I recall and won some awards too.

    Takes nothing away from Happiness Machine though. Nice job Coke.

  • Kurt Nemes

    Sorry for posting so many times. The site was responding slowly and I kept hitting submit. I did not mean to spam with my comments.

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else? Try infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else? Try infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else? Try infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else? Try infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else--infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • Jean-Luc Marcoux

    Kudos to Coke for a brilliant marketing stunt to promote one of the best known brands in the world(no wonder!). This is not about healthy lifestyle choices or political support for an abusive regime based on segregation-it a clever and original way to use the ubiquitous Coke machine and create a fun story that generated a million downloads on YouTube. Great job to the Marketing team who came up with the concept. Like it or not ...it made you watch a 2:00 video about sugared water in an aluminium can!

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else? Try infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else? Try infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • Kurt Nemes

    Disgusting. Soft drinks are responsible for fat being the new thin. What else? Try infantile obesity, diabetes, tooth decay. And would it be cute if it was a machine malfunction and the kids walked away with all that free pop? Wouldn't that be akin to looting?

  • André-Pierre Plessis

    The only reason you have such fond memories of Coke is because you, like myself, grew up in a Third World economy which has been dominated and prostituted by Coke. Pepsi left my home-country of South Africa in protest against apartheid, whereas the Coca-Cola Company couldn't bother about apartheid as long as they were making money out of us.