Q&A With the W+K Coke Team

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W+K/Amsterdam ECD Al Moseley and CD Rick Condos talk about collaboration, Chinoinks and kicking off Coke's global campaign with "Happiness Factory," a whimsical look at the inner workings of a Coke machine directed by Psyop's Kylie Matulick and Todd Mueller.

How did all of the moving pieces, so to speak, come together?

Al Moseley: It's quite a long story. It was an idea that we pitched last year for the global Coke business, and it was one of the ideas that we had in the latter stages of the pitch, and all the way through people loved it. And so we won the business in October of last year, and we just finished production on this spot a few weeks ago. Of course we made a lot of other things too, but the work in this had been tremendous?

How does this spot fit into the global campaign?

Rick Condos: It's a really simple story, so it travels well.
Al:It's going to kick off the global campaign in 199 countries.

How did you decide to work with Psyop?

Al: We got a lot of treatments in. Theirs was really wild.
Rick: It was unbelievable.
Al: It took us into a world more than any other. They've taken a picture of this world that was complete. It was head and shoulders above everything else.

What was the raw idea?

Al: There were giant hands hand-jiving over a bottle with psychedelic lights. It wasn't as complex. It was more of a factory than we have now. The whole thing progressed and grew in size as we went along. Then when Psyop brought in pictures of these incredible fantasy landscapes, we moved away from the idea of a factory and we took it out into these huge fantasy landscapes. And when they told us we could have the guy who does matte painting for The Lord of the Rings, we thought that would be excellent, they'd be able to pack the world. The idea got bigger and the inside of the machine grew and grew and grew.
Rick: It went from a factory to a world. What we always liked about it was that question of what is inside a Coke machine. The reality is really quite boring and mechanical. The scope of a world playing in there is really quite fun.

Did they create the characters?

Al:Yeah. We presented the inside of the vending machine so many times to different people that it changed all the time. We were changing the ways that the bottle was filled, but we didn't have real characters. But when Psyop came up with the Chinoinks, we said that was it, we were in.

Excuse me, the what?

Al:We call them Chinoinks, which are the flying pigs.
Rick: Those were the first characters that they brought to us, and we said wow, this is more than even we had thought of. They locked themselves with a room with them and came up with the other characters.

Do the other characters have names too?

Rick: Not really (laughs).
Al: Do you have any favorites?
Rick: I love the Chinoinks, I love the capper.
Al:The capper! Yes, I like the workers who kind of look like guards at the end.
Rick: And the guys who light themselves on fire. They're all fun in their own way. That was the biggest thing, Psyop had a huge number of reference materials. They had these postcards of fantasy art that they had picked up in Australia that they used as inspiration and the characters either fit into the world or they didn't as we played with them and we built the cast. We knew the story and structure, so as we worked on it we just honed it. It's a simple story, so we needed to go through those steps to get out of the machine. It was just making it interesting.
Al:Also, if you notice the coin, we couldn't have a real currency, so it's from the Bank of Psyop. That's [co-director] Todd [Mueller]'s head.

You also had a separate production team shooting live action?

Al:Yes, we shot quite a bit of live action. We tried lots of different people and ways of shooting them. There was a debate of whether he should look at the bottle or shouldn't look at the bottle. We shot in different costumes and different locations. I'm pleased with where we ended up.

What is it about this casting choice that made you choose him?

Al: We wanted something that was even more normal that what we went with.
Rick: He could be from a lot of places. He could be from America or European or South American. He does that well.
Al: I think he's a bit too good looking for my taste.

What's next?

Al: We've got eighteen spots that we've shot in the campaign and there is other work from other agencies. We're now going into the next phase to concept for the next round. One will be a follow-up, a second version of this spot.

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