Coca-Cola “Formula” (2006/:15)

Coca-Cola Red Type Campaign


In Autumn 2005, Wieden+Kennedy came to Brand New School with two projects: One, a series of wonderfully written type-only spots; and two, a new Coca-Cola end tag for the line “The Coke Side of Life.”

The brief asked for simplification and clarification of the Coca-Cola brand. As always with these kinds of things, there are a whole lot of different ways to be simple. Because the end tag had been written around the idea of opening a Coke, we explored quite a lot of animations using a bottle cap before settling on the bottle itself as the hero (based on a sketch from W+K’s Amsterdam office).

Coca-Cola “Thirsty,” “Temperature” and “Crushed Ice” (2006/:15)
Once we agreed on a direction, the animation was amazingly, mind-blowingly simple. You’d think that it would take hundreds of iterations to get it right, but in fact it was animator Dickson Chow’s first sketch of the rotating bottle that ended up being the final version.

The type animations had been boarded out by W+K as simple cards set in Coca-Cola’s then-house font, Helvetica. We explored all sorts of things including handwriting or type in speech bubbles (to express the conversational nature of the writing); as well as pre-war fonts such as Morris Fuller Benton’s Souvenir (to express the heritage and the friendliness of the brand).

Eventually, we settled on Gotham, a brand that by now carries pretty much the same attitudes as Coca-Cola: simple, friendly, familiar, American, ubiquitous. While it wasn’t a particularly original choice even back in 2005, I do think HTF owes me a dinner for proposing it to W+K.

After the success of this campaign and the subsequent live action spots that carried the end tag, San Francisco-based design company Turner Duckworth was asked to apply the same strategies — simplification, clarification, flat red and white, Gotham — to packaging and print. In 2008, they won the design Grand Prix at Cannes for the rebranding project.

For more than a decade, with only minute changes and regional variations, this design was used as the end tag for Coca-Cola spots worldwide.

Coca-Cola “Wondering” and “Bubbles” (2006/:15)


Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland
Client: Coca-Cola

Design & Animation: Brand New School, Los Angeles
Creative Director: Jens Gehlhaar
Designers: Eli Carrico, Megan McGinley
Animators: Dickson Chow, Kyu Kim, Trix Taylor, Kirk Shintani, Dave Yan
Producer: Devin Brook

Thank you: Lee Schulz
Music: Agoraphone Music Direction, New York