MediaVideo‘Social Humanity’ Drives Viral Coca-Cola #NoLabels Video

'Social Humanity' Drives Viral Coca-Cola #NoLabels Video

Social humanity is being credited for the viral nature of a Ramadan Coca-Cola video, which has generated more than 12 million views since its release in the Middle East in early July.

Content focused on a better, more accepting world is the driving force behind the viral success of a Coca-Cola video released in the Middle East for Ramadan, experts say.

In the video, which racked up a record-breaking 12 million views in just 10 days, Coca-Cola invites six strangers to an iftar – the daily fast breaking-meal for Muslims during Ramadan – where they are forced to get to know each other in the dark. The group includes a heavy metal musician, an extreme sports enthusiast in a wheelchair and a tattooed TED speaker with an interest in cognitive psychology.

At the end of the meal, the lights come on and the participants discuss their stereotypes of each other, finally reaching under their chairs to find Coca-Cola cans without their iconic logos and the message, “Labels are for cans, not for people.”

“In the Middle East, a region with over 200 nationalities and a larger number of labels dividing people, these Coca-Cola cans send a powerful and timeless message that a world without labels is a world without differences. And that we are all basically just the same – human,” Coca-Cola said in a statement.

For 90 percent of the video, Rohit Dadwal, managing director of the Mobile Marketing Association, Asia Pacific, didn’t realize it was a Coca-Cola campaign. He said the 10 percent of branding was just as powerful as the message.

“The content is really what is driving the campaign – the no-labels really relates to the messaging they’ve got that you really can’t put a message on anybody, and they made it come alive with those people sitting in the room,” Dadwal says.

“I think there is a very powerful tool that is starting to develop in advertising and there is a very strong messaging that comes out of it, which borders on the areas of being social for the betterment of humanity,” he adds.

The campaign illustrates the power of storytelling in advertising, says Anis Zantout, regional digital director, Cheil MENA.

“People share these ‘stories,’ not because they offer some form of temporary gratification but because they are meaningful and resonate with their daily lives,” Zantout says. “By sharing the video, they, too, feel that they are sending out a social message and contributing to the cause.” 

Virality is impossible to predict, but Zantout thinks the campaign will be remembered because it’s particularly relatable in the Middle East.

The video’s success overshadows other popular campaigns in the region, such as Arab Dairy’s “Never Say No To Panda” cheese campaign, which attracted almost 5 million views in 2012; and a 2014 Emirates’ World Cup promotion featuring soccer greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé, which garnered 7 million views.

Created by Dubai agencies FP7 and Memac Ogilvy, the No Labels campaign is part of Coca-Cola’s global campaign, ‘Let’s take an extra second,’ asking people around the world to take a moment to know each other.

No Labels is also being promoted on social channels including Facebook and Instagram, alongside the release of unlabelled Coca-Cola cans across the Middle East. A second video is set to be posted as part of the initiative.

“Content has to surprise them, enrich their lives and touch upon a nerve. The strongest two emotions on YouTube in the Middle East that drive video viewership are laughter and exhilaration,” Zantout says. “Any strong emotional pull — whether positive or negative — is twice as likely to be shared than content that provokes a weak emotional response.”

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