By: Emma Wang

After embracing glistening; summer sea in Australia; a cinema theatre in South Africa; streets in Argentin; and many other corners of the world, this time, Coke and its mysterious vending machine travel to Lithuania to do the magic of striking people there with unexpected surprises and happiness.

In this newly-launched “Roll Out Happiness”commercial, Coke exercised its signature philanthropic-minded move again: making people happy by giving away free cokes and other sweet gifts through interaction with its specially designed vending machine. It runs the same as previous happiness campaigns, but it still bears the uniqueness of new ideas.

With grey bricks, stiff walls, clunky old architecture, dark-colored clothes, and hurrying footsteps- the whole city comes across as cold and cheerless. This is Vilnius B.C: Before Coke. Along with the pleasant appearance of the red truck, Coke brings out the color and joy- a large, fresh, green carpet of turf is spread out in a concrete square with a bright Coke vending machine standing in the center. Coke even erected a few trees. Curious people start to notice the difference. They stop, stare at it, and talk about it. Shoes are taken off as instructed, and then the happy starts. Free cokes keep dropping out. Fizzy foam gets stirred up. Soft sunlight sheds on this beautiful site. People are gathering, sharing, drinking, playing, smiling, and relaxing. They are having fun. You know how they say unexpected happiness is just like a spring breeze kissing your face? This is the gift granted and brewed by life and emulated by Coke. This is the unexpected happiness  presented to you when you recall the ordinary but precious moments.

Brilliant idea? Definitely. Instead of giving no effort to sell the product, Coke invests into its ads. It sells not just a product, but a philosophy as well. And by instilling what Coke believes into people’s minds, it wins over consumers. Sounds like a good deal, huh? It is, but it comes with some inevitable controversies as well.

Doing advertising in international markets always tends to be tricky and needs thorough consideration. Even with the Coke brand having as ubiquitous an appeal as it does around the globe, it turns out, people in other countries don’t exactly share the same fascination Americans generally hold for it. There are comments like “Coca-Cola- open diabetes!” or ”That’s ironic, because it’ll kill you -_-” on YouTube. It seems like to some, Coke is more of a culture invader bringing sugar drugs and unhealthy lifestyles instead of happiness. Furthermore, several complaints also came from the idea of the scene. The deliberate gray depiction of Vilnius wasn’t appreciated by everyone, and as for the security camera commercial, there were voices saying, “Also, a reminder- we’re living in a surveillance state” or ”brainwashing” and other such messages.

Anyway, overall, it’s a grand, loving gesture out of good will. Most of the people are happy, and they are asking for Coke to come to them. Just as how you can’t make millions of friends without a few enemies, Coke can’t expect to please 100% of viewers without stirring a little controversy. Keep up the happiness work, and we are all hoping Coke will come to U of I one day!

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Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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