Coca-Cola Rolls Out Portable Parks
Coca-Cola, that global monolith of syrupy salespower, has been known to engage in unconventionally massive ad campaigns before. In their latest effort, Coke has (literally) rolled out bottle-shaped patches of turf in 13 cities around the world. These plots of grass have been quickly adorned with trees, benches, Coca-Cola vending machines, and a conspicuously peppy assortment of park-goers.
While the Wieden + Kennedy ads are indisputably well-done, many observers have been scoffing at what they perceive to be Cok e’s cynical co-optation of urban hipness and “green” development. Some city-dwellers balk at the notion that they need Coke to come in and rescue them from their drab, colorless urban existence. Indeed, the copy under the ad on YouTube implores viewers to “Join Coca-Cola as we brighten gray days in cities across the world.” For New Yorkers who frequent the posh Highline Park (not to mention Central), or San Franciscans doing Yoga in Alamo Square, this labeling of city squares as inevitably “gray” might come off as a tad dated, if not outright condescending.
Coca Cola is well-known for its ambitious humanistic marketing initiatives, however. Earlier this year, its “Open Happiness” campaign attempted to ameliorate the decades-long conflict between India and Pakistan. How, you might ask? With “Small World Machines” that allowed passersby to gift free sodas to strangers in the opposing country, so long as they played some interactive games with one another through the digital screen. No word yet on a peace treaty being signed, but one certainly can’t blame Coca-Cola’s marketing department for a lack of ambition.