After about 10 years of lagging sales followed by a sudden ultra-successful marketing campaign during the summer of 2014, Coca-Cola used one of the biggest advertising platforms available — the recent 2015 Super Bowl game — to begin another campaign that takes an interestingly modern approach to its family-friendly brand.
The one-minute commercial that Coke aired during the Super Bowl featured internet star Robby Novak, AKA the Kid President, who suffers from a rare medical condition called Brittle Bone Disease. As Forbes explains, this disease is particularly difficult for its victims like Novak, a 10-year-old who has suffered over 80 broken bones thus far.
The message of the commercial was simple: The internet should be a place where positive messages are shared, rather than becoming a hate-filled environment where teens anonymously cyberbully their peers and where minority groups are ruthlessly mocked.
The commercial, complete with its own hashtag “#MakeItHappy,” was just the first installment of a handful of videos that Coke has subsequently released under the same campaign. These videos, featuring everyone from high-profile celebrities like Michael Sam to average American teenagers, encourage viewers to think twice before posting hateful messages online.
And of course, since this campaign is being run by Coca-Cola and the ultimate goal is still to increase sales, Forbes contributor Jeff Fromm brings it all back to an important point: Coke’s approach is more family-friendly than ever before, but it’s appealing to millennials and teens by strategically incorporating hashtags, shareable celebrity quotes, and dedication to an important (albeit somewhat ambiguous) cause.
Coke may have spent 10 years fighting to keep its brand traditional and conservative, but as many other companies have discovered, a successful brand isn’t just what the company wants it to be — it’s also what the consumers want to see.
Coke’s campaign makes it very clear — to millennials especially — that the company desperately wants to appeal to younger audiences with the hopes of increasing sales among this demographic. But at least the company has recognized that its brand needs to adapt, and is making a public effort to do so.