Graham Fink, chief creative officer of O&M China, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that he personally tracked down and reached out to Jonathan Mak Long, a graphic design student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University who gained acclaim in October last year for his Steve Jobs tribute (pictured below).
"I rang every design college in Hong Kong," said Fink, who sees himself as a creative patriarch and loves to nurture young artistic talent.
Based on a three-word brief 'Sharing a Coke' proposed by Ogilvy to its client, Mak conceived of a design that transforms the brand's iconic red and white ribbon into a pair of hands exchanging an equally iconic bottle. Fink pitted Mak's work against other designs submitted by Ogilvy's creative directors.
"That yielded some friendly competition between a big guy like Ogilvy and a young designer like Jonathan," Fink said. "When you're beat by one of the little guys, that's one of the ways to raise the bar creatively."
The new outdoor executions in Shanghai are the latest part of Coca-Cola's ongoing global 'Open Happiness' campaign.
"It's an emotional image meant to bring a little smile to your face and warmth in your heart," Fink said. "It conveys sharing in a manner that is uniquely ownable by Coke, as the only two elements in the entire visual—the 'Dynamic Ribbon' and the 'Contour Bottle'—are both its trademarks and worldwide icons".
“In a market like China where clutter is the norm, the hyper-minimalistic and simple curves in the design, which doesn't even include Coke’s logo, are a show-stopping example of ‘less is more,’” Fink said.
Ogilvy's art director tweaked Mak's design slightly, but his work was "largely finished", according to Fink, who added that of course Mak was compensated by the agency for his work.
"The thought behind the Coke poster is simple," Mak said. "I hope to produce meaning that is greater than the sum of its parts. At the risk of sounding smug, sometimes ideas just come to you, and I cannot over-explain it too much. If it works, thatʼs all that matters."
To that, Fink concluded, "You don't need to cut up a nightingale to know how it sings."
Stephen Drummond, creative excellence director for The Coca-Cola Company Asia Pacific, commented, “This delightful story is a great example of how as a company we have learnt to actively cultivate content from all sources.”
Making its debut in Shanghai this past weekend, the outdoor imagery will run in bus shelters and elevators across the city for a month.
Project title: #CokeHands
Client: The Coca-Cola Company
Brief: Communicate the spirit of sharing a Coke in a uniquely own-able and iconic manner
Creative agency: Ogilvy & Mather Advertising/Shanghai
Chief Creative Officer: Graham Fink
Designer: Jonathan Mak Long
Account Management: Martin Murphy
Strategy & Planning: Mark Sinnock