Q&A with Wieden/Amsterdam ECDs Al Moseley and John Norman
You two had just arrived at Wieden + Kennedy when you won this pitch—it seems like you couldn't have fathomed it'd be this big. Did you?
Al Moseley: Well, we knew it was going to big because it was going to be Coca-Cola. But we could have never imagined it was going to be as successful as this— how now we see it all over the world, running in so many countries. It's been so successful for them in so many ways.
What was the key? What brought that success?
Moseley: I think it was kind of tapping into a global consciousness of what people thought about the brand. "The Coke Side of Life" is something that people can buy into wherever you live, whatever you believe in or whatever culture you come from. So it felt like it had a more universal kind of appeal. One thing that we discovered when we came up with this campaign was that at that time Coke was ubiquitous as a brand, but it had lost it's meaning. And I think the one thing that "The Coke Side of Life" has done is it has given it back its true meaning and connected it to people.
John Norman: Coke management at the time had really realized that their brand meant nothing, and it was time to put a real current point of view back on Coke and to make it feel more modern. I think that allowed us to actually create a sentiment and a platform that were very co-authorship oriented and that had a very democratic view on the world. I think that's what "The Coke Side of Life" has done; it allows you to choose one way or another. I think Coke is always on the yes side. I think that's a very open way, and if they keep going with the way they're going with this platform, you'll see a lot more extended uses and ways to articulate "The Coke Side of Life" that aren't advertisement, that become more entertainment, more community building, that sort of thing. Can you elaborate on that?
Norman: They're getting into other mediums, other types of forms of expressions of entertainment.
Coke prefers to make situations able to apply to a lot of different places with its global campaigns. Two of the major TV efforts were animation; is that an easy way out, to go with a big animation, or is it the best way?
Norman: It is easy to use animation as a medium, as a device, to communicate globally. In the States, I think it was just an idea, and we were trying to communicate a message of world love. But it's not a conscious thing to choose animation. It just happened to be something that works well for "Happiness Factory." There were no conflicts of culture.
Moseley: If you think about the appeal of Shrek, it's just so mass, and Coca-Cola's appeal is so mass. So is Disney's. It's so mainstream and you've got to appeal to so many people, you do need a medium that allows you to draw people in the same way, and animation is excellent for that.