Abreu arrives as the the Atlanta-based beverge giant has been looking to centralize media and creative to be more efficient in its marketing, which Abreu believes ultimately, is a good thing.
In terms of design, “previously, there were a lot of local initiatives,” he said in an interview this week. “Now the initiatives will all be coming from my team. Whatever we design for Coke brand, or Sprite, Fanta and communication-wise, there will be a centralized package, shipped to the markets and executed with much more consistency worldwide.” Such a move will help the brand avoid things like double spending that, for example, might come with event-based campaigns such as Christmas advertising in multiple markets. “You’re able to create better work, with a better budget when it’s one campaign instead of two or three,” he says.
Abreu says he’s most excited about two challenges: sustainability and shaping the full brand experience.
Sustainability is “something that personally fuels me, gives me passion,” he says. “Coca-Cola has a huge commitment to a world without waste and I do believe design can help that.”
Though he has no set plans yet, “There are many initiatives that can be done to tackle a problem this big,” Abreu says. He points to one Coke innovation of the recent past, the Freestyle machine, which allows consumers to create their own varieties of Coca-Cola drink flavors in a single device. “It’s really compact from a space perspective, and imagine a future where you have that at home and avoid water transportation in big trucks.“ Other brands like SodaStream, now owned by Pepsi, have embraced that concept.
Also falling under his scope will be oversight of the full brand experience around the Coca-Cola portfolio, to which he will be applying lessons learned while at RBI. In 2020, for example, BK unveiled the aforementioned “restaurant of tomorrow” concept, which brought tech to the forefront of customer experience and included a “touchless” order system.
Abreu says t his experience working under RBI’s former global Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado will also help to inform what he does at Coca-Cola. ”Under Fernando’s leadership, you definitely learn how to be bold and take risks, not only in creative but also in design,” he says. “As a challenger brand, Burger King created a lot of noise.” There are challenger brands in Coca-Cola’s portfolio that could benefit from that thinking, he says, while “it’s also important that a leader doesn’t get too comfortable in its position. You can make smart moves but also be bold and keep pushing the brand forward.”
Abreu adds that there’s also so much to learn from the history of the brands themselves. “Before RBI, I used to visit the Coca-Cola archives a lot, entire floors full of memorabilia of the history of Coke and all the other brands. You can clearly see the aesthetics and visual presence over the decades, but also the common thread across time.”