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Claire Parker reviews the new Coca-Cola visuals

Claire Parker, Executive Creative Director of our Amsterdam Studio, is part of the ‘Corporate Design Panel’ of Marketing Tribune magazine, so every month she critiques a corporate design. This time round Claire had to judge the new Dutch Coca-Cola visuals, designed by Mountain, alongside Tom Dorresteijn from Studio Dumbar and Stefan Pangratz from VBAT. This article was originally published on the Dutch language Marketing Tribune website, but we have translated it for you here:

For years, Coca-Cola has aspired to be the icon of happiness. Design company Mountain was asked to use illustrations to make the emotional character of the brand stand out more within the product range. ‘Choose Happiness’ was their starting point.

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Claire Parker, Executive Creative Director at Design Bridge Amsterdam: The kissing Delft couple did elicit a smile the first time I saw it, although it’s clearly inspired by the earlier Coca-Cola handshake graphic and the brilliant work of Noma Bar. However, there’s definitely no ‘smile in the mind’ for the others, which I assume is the goal of the ‘Choose Happiness’ campaign. Overall it feels very forgettable. The executions are quite poor and offer a clichéd idea of Holland rather than a clever insight into a local point of view. They are part of a bold and instantly recognisable illustration style that does strengthen the new brand emphasis on the variants, however they fall short in terms of ‘Choose Happiness’ and are too obvious in terms of subject and execution to raise a smile. Score: 2

Stefan Pangratz, Design Director at VBAT: Coca-Cola’s continuous design strategy, with the signature bottle and iconic typography at the core, is just great. It’s nice to see how they have translated that thought into new and relevant ways. I’m a big fan of the ‘Happiness in a bottle’ theme, which I think was a strong idea that is visualised beautifully. The current variations are nice but lack the energy of the original campaign. The Dutch translation is at its best when it’s visually simple and iconic. This was nicely executed in the visual with the reversed silhouette of the bottle in the ‘kissing couple’. However, when all four bottles play a role, the campaign gets cluttered and loses its iconic power. Score: 7

Tom Dorresteijn, CEO at Studio Dumbar: In their marcom strategy, Wieden+Kennedy have put the graphical icon of the Coca-Cola bottle at the centre. This gives a significant boost to the brand. The idea to build further on this concept with a local touch is very strong. Not every example is equally convincing, but the campaign concept as a whole certainly is. In terms of power and simplicity, the ad with the tulip is by far the strongest. Score: 7

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