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Remove Labels This Ramadan–Coca Cola

This advertisement for CocaCola in the Middle East, posted on July 5 2015, during the Muslim observance of Ramadan went viral online with over 18 million views. In this ad, a group of strangers are placed in a completely dark room where they introduce themselves to each other. They then describe what they think the other people look like. After they get to know each other, the lights are turned on and they are shocked by the unexpected appearances of the other people. For instance, the man who described himself as a heavy metal musician was dressed in a professional business suit and wore glasses while the man who described himself as an extreme sports enthusiast was in a wheelchair. They then reach under their chairs and are presented a can of CocaCola with all the labels removed, the only words reading “Labels are for cans, not people.” Upon the ad’s release, Coca-Cola explained its perspective: “In a time when equality and abolishing prejudices is a hot topic for discussion around the world, how does one of the leading brands like Coca-Cola join in the conversation?”

discussion

What are the producers trying to communicate in this advertisement? How does their approach (putting strangers together in the dark) help communicate their message about labels?

How does incorporating the final tagline “Labels are for cans, not people” affect the message?

How might the cultural context of this video affect the choices the producers made and how the video would have been perceived by its original audience?

Should brands or corporations create messages about diversity like this? What might be gained? What might be lost?