“A simple idea with a heavy impact. I love it when brands promote a better world, instead of just peddling their product.” —Sean Klassen
“Impeccable. It’s not often that you see an interactive advertisement that produces true emotions. Great work to the team behind this.” —Dustin Callif
Overview: India and Pakistan are divided by decades of conflict, including three major wars. The contentious border seemed an appropriate, if extraordinarily difficult, place to test Coca-Cola’s belief that a moment of happiness can bring the world closer together. To show that what unites us is stronger than what divides us, Coca-Cola developed a live outdoor experience that connected Pakistan and India after 66 years of division. Using first-world technology, Small World Machines—custom soda vending machines equipped with full-body, live streaming screens and a touch panel—allowed people in both countries to interact in real time by seeing eye-to-eye, touching hands and tracing symbols of peace, love and happiness. A three-minute film of the live event brought the experience to the wider world as part of a global PR campaign in every market where Coca-Cola is sold, which included the Coca-Cola Journey website, Coca-Cola’s global YouTube channel, Coca-Cola India’s Facebook page, India TV and a dedicated Pakistan Vimeo site (YouTube is banned in Pakistan).
• A unique touchscreen and animated interface allowed users to join their hands together and simultaneously create positive messages across the border. Special care was taken to make the user interface globally recognizable—usable by all ages, genders, socio-economic levels and cultures.
• Small World Machines was developed over eighteen months by teams in India, Pakistan, Australia and the United States, culminating in a three-day live event in March 2013. More machines are ready to be deployed elsewhere, and newer versions will access as many as six to eight countries at a time.
• Over 10,000 attendees put aside their differences and became part of the live event, creating over 700 connections across the border. And, most importantly, over 55 percent of ensuing web and social media traffic came from India and Pakistan, showing that the social discussion of togetherness and peace is happening among the right people.
Comments by Iggy Rodriguez and Justin Carew:
What was the most challenging aspect of this project? “Almost every part of this project presented us with obstacles to overcome. From a technology standpoint, the very first manufacturers we approached told us that it couldn’t be done. So we had to work out a way to create a live one-to-one video connection while incorporating the element of touch, as well as filming through a projected image. This would’ve been difficult enough to achieve in a controlled setting, but we then had to work out how we could pull it off in Pakistan and India, two developing nations with a number of cultural differences between them. To add to this we also encountered political unrest, a military coup, protests, rolling power blackouts in Pakistan and fluctuating Internet connections that made everything on the ground extremely difficult.”
How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past? “This project demonstrated the power of a large group coming together to achieve one goal. It was truly a collaborative project on a global scale unlike any other we’ve ever worked on. We had a core team developing the creative in Sydney while coordinating the production of the vending machines in Atlanta together with our Leo Burnett Chicago office. Our global Coca-Cola clients in the United States, Pakistan and India worked closely with us through concept, design, development, logistics and matters of global security to final execution and publicity.”