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Coca-Cola Brings Real Magic to Family Bonding This Lunar New Year

Behind the Work 382 Add to collection

Mike Pearson, group creative director at Ogilvy Shanghai took LBB’s Zoe Antonov behind the scenes of this animated masterpiece about family and magic underwired with elements of Chinese history

Coca-Cola Brings Real Magic to Family Bonding This Lunar New Year

This Lunar New Year Coca-Cola collaborated with Ogilvy Shanghai to create a beautifully animated story fitting with the theme of the Year of the Tiger. The spot was accompanied with a series of collectible festive cans featuring different members of the tiger family, as well as an immersive, one-of-a-kind mobile gaming experience. In mainland China, a simple scan of any Coca-Cola bottle, can or pack bridges generational divides by taking families on a gaming adventure through using a single phone.

But let’s talk more about the film! Charlotte Sng, creative director for Coca-Cola in Greater China and Mongolia reminded audiences about the long-standing belief in “real magic” that the brand holds dear to its heart. “Lunar New Year is all about the magic of togetherness, something that is deeply embedded in Coca-Cola’s brand philosophy. This year, at a time when shard moments are more precious than ever, we want to celebrate the real magic of human connection and invite consumers to create memories that last,” commented Charlotte. The campaign film does exactly that by depicting a tiger family sharing a meal together, stumbling over the generational gaps that any family faces. Holidays can be breeding grounds for conflict in any culture, especially when the family gets together for the first time after a long time of separation. But, however legendary family drama can be over the holidays, what is often left after is the warmth of a shared dinner and the quiet gratitude for having spent the day with the ones you most love. If anything can be classed as ‘real magic’, it would be exactly that.

We get to watch our main characters, a son and a father (a relationship ‘often strained in China’), go through a slight rift, which is eventually mended by ‘a simple reminder of what’s important’. Intertwined with Chinese culture and tradition, which place an incredible importance on family gatherings and the shared connection they establish between people, there is an element of mixing familiar themes with new ones within this Lunar New Year story. With the Coca-Cola bottle being what eventually brings everybody back at the table, as a ‘central catalyst of the real and magical family reconnection’, of course. Directed by Yves Geleyn, the film encompasses several layers of storytelling and combines them with beautiful animation to resonate with audiences and remind them of the little things this holiday. All of this, topped with a generous sprinkle of Chinese history and art references makes this campaign something nobody would want to miss.

Mike Pearson, group creative director at Ogilvy Shanghai spoke to LBB’s Zoe Antonov about the ideas behind the campaign and what sparked the magic behind the story of this tiger family.
 
 




LBB> What was the brief for this campaign and what were the initial ideas surrounding it?

 

Mike> Lunar New Year in China is one of Coca-Cola's biggest global promotions. This year, our theme was all about uniting families across all generations - as recently it's become harder for families to reconnect when they all travel home for the holidays. So, we knew that to bridge this divide, we needed to do more than just talk, we had to create moments of real magic on every table around China... we did this by creating a family of Tigers, with each character represented by their own pack - meaning everyone at New Year Dinner could grab their own relevant pack - and recreate their family with Tigers.

Then, if people scanned the cans with WeChat, they were instantly taken to an amazing series of games - which could only be played by bringing the family together - shouting loudly to make a tiger jump further, blinking to make tigers race faster and more.
And all this was promoted with our endearing story, telling the tale of a strained father and son relationship (as is often the case in China) which is solved thanks to a Coke - reconnecting the family and bringing the magic back.
 
 

LBB> Tell us more about the characters in the campaign - how are they unique from each other and what do they represent?

 

Mike> The key characters are a father and son tiger - reflecting a relationship that is often strained in China. The son represents a young man who has moved out of home, and is returning for the holidays - excited to see family, but also nervous to see his father. The father is excited to see his son, but feels uncomfortable showing affection. Thankfully for them both, their wise mother breaks the ice by putting a Coke in-between them... starting their reunion.
 
 

LBB> The tigers have a sort of wooden look to their skin, which is very memorable and different - tell us more about that, what was the creative process behind it?

 

Mike> The wooden look and design of the tigers were inspired by carved wooden puppets historically made in China. The attention to detail from the animators at Hornet is super, with the markings of the tiger inspired by the South China tiger, and even incorporating the 'King Mark' symbol on the head, as shown in Chinese mythology.
 
 




LBB> And what about the game that goes alongside the campaign? Tell us more about that!

 

Mike> These are a real breakthrough use of gaming and WeChat - each of the three games uses a different mechanic to literally connect the family around the dinner table. The first game needs multiple family members to shout in unison to make the tiger jump higher. The second tracks eye blinking to allow two family members to make their tigers run faster. Finally, the table-hockey game allows families to control the paws of two tigers by turning their heads, knocking a Coke bottle cap across the table to score.

There was also an AI mechanic built into the games, so that people who were separated from their families  could still play and share in the fun. Families gain points for each game played, which is then instantly redeemable - as the games were built directly inside Coca-Cola's new WeChat platform, creating a seamless journey from scans to rewards.
 
 

LBB> What were the most challenging parts of the campaign? What about the most memorable moments?

 

Mike> This was one of those very rare projects where everyone was pulling in the same direction from word go. Our clients were tremendously supportive, and our production partners Hornet and Unit9 were amazing, so it was all about maximising how great we could make every detail in the film - and how responsive we could make the game - in the time available.
 


 


LBB> What has been the audience's response to the campaign? And has it been different depending on the country?

 

Mike> The response has been overwhelmingly positive - as the tension between parents and kids is something we can all understand, and especially after Covid everyone wants their families to come together closer than ever. In fact, in Malaysia, our limited edition cans are already selling on eBay for triple the price!
 


LBB> Coca-Cola is definitely something most people think of as a companion to a good family dinner, all across the world. How do you think is it manageable for the brand to keep up that feel across the whole world and carry it into holidays such as Lunar New Year?


 
Mike> Coca-Cola is one of the most recognisable symbols in the world, the second highest after the word OK if I remember correctly. That, paired with their incredibly consistent good work around connecting families and uplifting people, makes them a welcome part of any festive season. As such a global brand, they're also incredibly sensitive and respectful of local culture - always making people's time together more magical, rather than trying to twist the occasion for themselves. Great brand.
 
 

LBB> How long did the campaign take overall?

 

Mike> Approx. 4-5 months, it's been a labour of love.
 
 

LBB> Any final thoughts?

 

Mike> Watch this space, there's a lot more good Coke work coming :)

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LBB Editorial, Tue, 08 Feb 2022 16:48:01 GMT