Creative Direction on Coca-Cola

When it comes to branding, Coca-Cola is an absolute phenomenon.

Bluemarlin New York's Anna Milivojevich takes you on a journey on Coca-Cola's creative direction.

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Coca-Cola is arguably the best branded product in the world. Its sheer might and force of character, its stamina and precision, its ability to get it right time and time again, is undeniable. It’s a true juggernaut, dominating the global landscape and embedding itself into world culture as it corners the soft drinks market by simply focusing on selling ‘happiness.’

When it comes to branding, Coca-Cola is an absolute phenomenon. It’s a brand that has found the right rhythm of constantly evolving and continuously exciting the consumer yet always remaining true to itself (despite the dark days of New Coke, which in the end may have served to solidify the universal love for ‘The Real Thing’).

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New Coke is one of very few failures for Coca-Cola.

The question is, how does a brand that has remained relatively unchanged over such a lengthy period continue to be one of the most innovative on the planet?

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Coca-Cola is a brand that has remained relatively unchanged over such a long period with such sustained success.

I would contend that Coca-Cola’s power over the people has little to do with its product and everything to do with its branding. In fact, a senior executive at the company once proclaimed, “If Coca-Cola were to lose all its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. In contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”

My personal admiration for Coca-Cola is born out of the fact that it’s a largely design-driven brand. Amongst several other factors, I believe its faith and commitment to design has kept Coca-Cola fresh and ahead of so many fierce competitors. Whether it be limited editions, new flavour variants, sustainability, market expansion, packaging formats, social connection or supporting good causes, Coca-Cola always plays at the top of its game, setting the trends that others follow.

Below are several diverse and beautifully executed examples of how Coca-Cola expresses its brand through design.

Fashion Partnerships

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Supporting A Good Cause

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Summer Editions

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Shape Exploration

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Diverse Graphic Design

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Social Connections

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There aren’t many brands that are universally understood like Coca-Cola. It uses this to great effect within its social connection campaigns, which bring happiness and people together. What’s particularly interesting to me, is that packaging design is so often the primary vessel for such marketing.

Partnership With Spotify

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Coca-Cola creates partnerships that foster the idea of global community. Generating brand awareness by connecting to young people through both technology and one of the most powerful outlets of self-expression and culture; Music.

Sustainable Campaigns

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Coca-Cola continually produces stunts and campaigns that are surprising and unexpected. The melting bottles are a particularly apt example as they not only demonstrate Coca-Cola’s tendency for the spectacular, but since they disintegrate completely after use, they are sustainable too. Of course, the ultimate aim is for the beverage to be served the way it should be – ice cold.

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Coca-Cola is also sponsors countless global events.

Re-Appropriation

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While a creation by Coca-Cola itself, these chairs made from re-cycled and re-appropriated Coke bottles show just how far our relationship with the brand stretches.

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About Anna Milivojevich

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Anna Milivojevich is a creative thinker with over ten years of industry experience, who joined Blue Marlin as New York Design Director in January 2010, and was promoted to Creative Director in March 2011. Highly skilled in the creation of innovative packaging, brand identity and design strategy, she has lent her talents to numerous Fortune 500 and niche brands.

Anna has worked on projects for Gillette, Colgate-Palmolive, Tropicana, Kimberly Clark, Thresher Group (UK), Pepsi, Black & Decker, Pepperidge Farm, Unilever and Pfizer. She has also won several awards for her work on Splenda Mist and Duane Reade.

In-DepthDiane Lindquist