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Interactive Annual 19:

Vault of the Secret Formula

Launch Live Site

Launch Movie

“A beautifully executed and immersive interactive that mixes old-fashioned illusionary techniques with modern tech to create an inventive storytelling experience surrounding Coke's secret formula.” —Dave Curry

“This engaging installation invites user participation and tells the Coke story through an innovative and inspiring experience.” —Scott Prindle

Overview: It hadn’t been touched in 86 years, but the Coca-Cola Company recently moved its 125-year-old secret formula for Coca-Cola to a new home at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. As the capstone to its 125th-year celebration of the soft drink, the company is sharing the rich history of its secret formula in a permanent exhibit housing twelve media installations that deliver visitors toward a cinematic climax. After stepping through a huge vault door, visitors become increasingly integrated into an immersive multimedia experience that celebrates the history, mythology and intrigue surrounding the popular drink.

  • • The project presented a unique creative challenge: Design an exhibit devoted to the world's most closely guarded trade secret that captures the spirit of the brand, but reveals almost nothing about the formula of the iconic product.
  • • The project took about a year; defining the structure of the storytelling and the thematic threads that run through the exhibit began without any available content.
  • • Guiding guests is a “man in the hat” character inspired by Slugworth, from the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

Comments by Second Story’s Brad Johnson, Thomas Wester and David Waingarten

Was the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “The audience at World of Coca-Cola is vast and varied, attracting guests of all ages from around the globe. The interfaces and concepts needed to engage English- and non-Englishspeakers alike, and everything we made had to be hardened for extraordinary daily traffic.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “The entire experience is about the secret formula, but you never actually get to see it. Our task was to create a journey that builds excitement and anticipation and is fun and rewarding at each point along the way. We designed the project with the idea of a double helix, which resulted in an experience with two intertwined core emotional hooks—fun and intrigue. We challenged ourselves to have each experience build toward the next, creating a story arc across the space. As guests walk through the exhibit, learning about the history of the brand and its most iconic product, they become ever more immersed in the legend of the secret formula.”


Second Story Interactive Studios (Portland, OR), project design and development
Bent Image Lab/Donna Lawrence Productions/Electrosonic/Gallagher & Associates/Lexington/RomeAntics/Superfad, development partners
World of Coca-Cola, client

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