Marketing is Not Immune from the Law of Unintended Consequences

Coca-Cola has a bright new marketing campaign in Europe, demanding that people choose happiness over other mood states. As described in Adweek:

“The 70-second anthem by Ogilvy & Mather Amsterdam (it’s the office’s first work for the brand) introduces a new theme, “Choose Happiness,” and continues Coke’s tradition of casting itself as synonymous with joy. But it takes a more aggressive tone than usual. Not only can you be happy, you should be happy, right now, and all you have to do is reach out and grab it.”

It all sounds very aspirational and inspiring (if a little overwrought), until you take a moment to consider one particular advertisement, captioned “I choose happiness over years.”

Marketing it Not Immune from the Law of Unintended Consequences

One way of interpreting this ad is that the daredevil surfer has chosen to take risks in life– even if it means he might live a shorter life.

But another viewpoint might lead the customer to think drinking Coke is going to shorten your life span. But, hey, drinking Coke makes you happy, so you should do it anyway.

Whoops! Coca Cola’s new marketing campaign just stepped into the realm of unintended consequences. When planning your next marketing campaign, have some fresh eyes take a look, to make sure you are communicating clearly and effectively.

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