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Loren Judah, senior art director
Janice Ahn/Paul Cantor/Brian Merrell, designers
Brien Holman/Jayson Whitmore, executive creative directors
Zack Brown/Ivan Cockrum, developers
David Graunke/Steven Guichard, senior developers
Jen Lucero, executive director
Beck Henderer-Peña/Jen Schmithorst, producers
Chris Volckmann, executive producer
Beck Henderer-Peña, digital production director
Royale, production company/project design and development
Droga5, ad agency
Coke Zero, client

Launch Site

“A fun riff on a holiday meme that’s very well executed.” —juror Eric Karjaluoto

“There are now 82,200 more ‘ugly’ sweater designs in the world, with everything from unicorns to dinosaurs. Thanks, Coke, this makes me happy.” —juror Ginny Golden

Overview: The ugliness of a holiday sweater is limited only by the imagination. The Coke Zero Sweater Generator is a microsite that unleashed hideous creativity with options for style, color, pattern, trim color and graphics so users could design the delightfully awful sweater of their dreams. Visitors voted for their favorites, and the top 100 designs were actually knitted in imported Italian wool and sent to the winners, just in time for holiday parties.

Over the course of the two and a half weeks following Thanksgiving 2013, 82,200 sweaters were designed and submitted to the contest.
Contest entries came from 90 percent of the world’s countries.
A total of 405,261 votes were cast.

Comments by Royale:
What software, back-end technology and programming languages were used? “We took as simple of an approach as possible to facilitate broad compatibility—Internet Explorer 8, tablets and mobile—and extend availability of this contest to as many fans of Coke Zero and tacky sweaters as we could. We used a flexible application structure, Angular.js and PHP, to move quickly and to accommodate server requirements and the addition of Eprize integration for the contest. We also built a tool that would render any combination of 1,324,405,261 total design possibilities onto a photo-real garment just waiting to be immortalized. We then implemented the scoring, gallery and voting mechanisms, as well as social media integration.

Did you meet with any out-of-the-ordinary obstacles during development? We’re never ones to shy away from doing the unusual to find the right solution. To accomplish the monumental feat of producing and shipping 100 hand-knit sweaters in two weeks, we found a group of professionals in New York City’s garment district who could actually work with our insane time line. We made the sweater pattern templates ourselves and special-ordered the yarn from Italy. Working around the clock, our partner manufactured every custom sweater, packaging and shipping each to its creator. Then the social updates started coming in. People from all over the country were standing proud and posting pictures of themselves wearing their lovingly crafted sweaters.


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