Other brands have confronted the rise of the always-online mentality by urging consumers to put down their digital devices or take a break from social media (including Miller Lite and HP).
But Coke, with “Real Magic,” is promoting a third way: that virtual worlds can be used to build real human bonds, a message that executives hope resonates with younger drinkers.
The outreach includes using three well-known gamers in the spot: DJ Alan Walker, Aerial Powers and AverageJonas, members of the esports organization Team Liquid. (Powers is also a WNBA star.)
Coca-Cola Co. in a statement described “Real Magic” as acknowledging “the many contradictions experienced as new generations find harmony and human connection in a virtual and divided world.”
“Coca-Cola is a brand defined by dichotomies: humble but iconic, authentic yet secret, real yet magical,” stated Coca-Cola Co. global Chief Marketing Officer Manolo Arroyo. “The Real Magic philosophy is rooted in the belief that dichotomies can make the world a more interesting place – a world of extraordinary people, unexpected opportunities and wonderful moments. At the same time, it captures the essence of Coca-Cola itself: a real taste that is indescribable, unique, a touch of real magic.”
In an interview last week with Ad Age in which he teased the campaign, Arroyo acknowledged the brand must do a better job winning over Gen Z consumers, who have a range of beverage options, from coffee to energy drinks. “In the last 20 years we really have done a phenomenal job maintaining and increasing our business in the current consumer base, but we haven’t been able to recruit as much as we like more drinkers into the brand,” Arroyo said.
The new campaign seeks to make Twitch an ally in the effort by partnering with the Amazon-owned streaming platform’s Brand Partnership Studio. The group helped develop a contest in which viewers can use 25 codes hidden in the new ad to win prizes by entering them at a special microsite. (Coke will also put 10 codes inside livestreams on Twitch produced by gaming creators.) Prizes include Bits, which are virtual goods Twitch users use to show support for streamers.
As part of Real Magic, Coke also put a new design twist on its iconic logo called “Hug.” It essentially amounts to a new visual representation of the Coca-Cola Spencerian script that now is displayed in a way that it appears to hug bottles and cans. That imagery will be used in ads to punctuate moments of togetherness. Coke cited Wieden+Kennedy London, KnownUnknown and Kenyon Weston as design partners.