Historical Analysis: Coca-Cola “Security Cameras”

A look back at some of the significant events that happened between years 2009 and 2012 (when this “Security Cameras” commercial was first released) may lead to the conclusion that a lot of bad things were/are happening in this era: A suicide bombing in the Moscow Metro system killed 40 people during morning rush hour on March 29th, 2010; the Egyptian Revolution started “with a series of street demonstrations, marches, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, riots, labor strikes, and violent clashes in Cairo, Alexandria, and throughout other cities in Egypt” on January 25th 2011; a shooting in a mall in the Netherlands killed five people and wounded eleven on April 9th 2011. Yet it is in these same years that Wikipedia, “the free internet encyclopedia” turned 10 years old, that Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103) had its final launch, and in 2012 (before the commercial was released), that Wikileaks began “disclosing 5 million emails from private intelligence company, Stratfor” and Apple Inc claimed a value of $600 billion “making it the largest company by market capitalization in the world.” While technological breakthroughs surfaced, humanity saw a decline. Thus it was inevitable for denizens of this era to have developed cynical views.

This is where Coca-Cola comes in; its feel-good commercial serves the transformational function of changing subjectivity, attitudes and social values. In a world where technology, such as Google Earth, has caused privacy concerns, Coca-Cola transforms the perception of surveillance from something alien to a naturalized part of our lives in this uplifting commercial. Coca-Cola uses security camera footages to show that even with all the negative events in the news, there is still good in the world, and that it can come from the same lens that captures the bad. The commercial is also, more directly, intended to transform attitudes about/restore faith in humanity and to reinforce Coca-Cola’s brand identity of being optimistic and as a source of happiness in any situation.

The ‘Security Cameras’ spot is a continuation of our ongoing mission to spread happiness and optimism, giving a brand point of view about the world’s actual situation. This spot builds upon previous campaigns of ours that portray how good people outnumber bad people, delivering the message that we have reasons to believe in a better world. Because good people outnumber bad people. – Guido Rosales, Latin America Integrated Marketing Communication Director for Coca-Cola.

As a part of a #sharethegood campaign, the commercial interpellates/invites/encourages viewers to reflect and share goodness with the question, “How do you #sharethegood?”  It also employs the humour/wit tactic by putting a twist on words and their common associations: each of the moments are accompanied by witty captions like “People stealing…kisses,” “harmless soldiers,” “honest pickpockets,” “attack of friendship…love…kindness,” “friendly gangs,” et cetera, transforming what is usually perceived of the words “steal,” “gangs,” and “attack.”

In showing the good things people do even when they do not realize they are being watched, the commercial achieves authenticity and appeals emotionally – the most basic and universal element to effective advertisement. Coca-Cola embraces the mesh of public/private spheres as a part of this era (especially with the man dancing by himself in the convenience store) and encourages social interaction in expressing love and kindness to others and to oneself.  This soft sell tactic humanizes the corporation while achieving dematerialization of its product: Coca-Cola does not just sell carbonated beverages; Coca-Cola sells happiness.

Only towards the end is there a scene that contains Coca-Cola the drink – two students are shown getting a bottle of Coca-Cola from a vending machine and sharing it (with the caption “Sharing the Good”)– equating Coca-Cola to the positive moments presented before. Then the shot is pulled back to show the moments collaged together in the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle, selling the idea that Coca-Cola contains happiness, literally. All leads up to this final moment when the text beside the bottle appears, “Open Happiness.”

Internet Links

http://www.historyorb.com

 

– Jennifer W.

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