WHAT: The 2017 ads from Coke’s “Taste The Feeling” campaign.
WHO: McCann Madrid created “Elevator” and “Subway,” Santo did “Pool Boy,” and Ogilvy & Mather, Mexico City created the “Eyes Closed” spot.
WHY WE CARE: Coke’s ads have long strived for some sort of universality. This is the brand that wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, after all. The ads in the new campaign look for that in different ways: by putting a queer-friendly spin on its famous “Diet Coke Break” ad, by bringing people together in an elevator that gets stuck between floors, by showing off the star potential in a subway busker, or by demonstrating that a host of fun activities attractive young people can participate in are made even more enjoyable by drinking a product from the Coke family.
All of them except for “Eyes Closed” are heavy around narrative and storytelling–a frantic music exec has to find a new singer, a hotel maid and a star musician share a moment of connection, a family competes for the attention of the hunky pool boy–which brings that universality out of details, rather than abstraction. The “Pool Boy” ad–in which an attractive young pool boy is the object of affection from both the sister and the brother in a pair of siblings–is perhaps the most interesting, simply because it helps move inclusive advertising to the place where gay characters don’t just exist, but they’re also treated as fair game for the same sort of goofy slapstick that straight characters have long been subject to. Now that’s progress.