Coca-Cola asked 5 design groups, from 5 continents to create and share visions of optimism, and called it ‘The Magnificent 5′. It was aimed at re-uniting Coke with popular culture on a global level to help reclaim its youth market consumer base. Coke’s visionary team of marketers acted as patrons of the arts, using M5 to take Coke back to creativity. It was a very brave move away from ‘capitalist corporation’ toward ‘cultural icon’, using artistic expression to obtain its own street cred.

The brief to the M5 was simple – link Coca-Cola to ‘a better world optimism’. Each design team was tasked to create a Short Story to visualize they’re own unique perspective on BetterWorld Optimism. These short stories came to life as Music Videos – each set to music tracks from different trendsetting musicians. Along with the music video, each team had to design a supporting set of limited edition merchandising: a coke bottle, a vinyl toy (based on a character featured in the music video), a set of posters, and T-shirts. The limited edition ‘bottles’ were constructed entirely from aluminum, used luminous invisible inks which glowed under fluorescent light in night clubs, and were under-filled to be used as a vessel to add alcohol to in night clubs (instead of pouring it into a glass).

The offering from each continent was launched globally in three-month bursts, supplemented by a range of merchandise. The videos were released at the world’s hottest clubs, along with the limited edition bottles, to create an iconic experience. Anonymous screenings on the most popular global music television channels, viewings at global Resfest gatherings, viral distribution via internet and mobile technologies, active projection in exclusive night clubs and stage screenings on tour with the music collaborators in Ibiza – these were all ways in which the content was circulated.

It was important for us to capture something uniquely African without utilizing any clichés, both in concept and visual execution. Because each campaign was being made accessible to audiences all over the world, it needed to have international appeal, and more importantly because it was targeted specifically at the youth market the design solution needed to have a ‘cool’ factor.

When conceptualizing our short story, we drew great inspiration from the African myths, legends, fables, songs and proverbs that define this birthplace of mankind – and we found that it had striking similarities with so many cultures that have developed in opposite corners of the world. African mythology most often manifests itself as carved figures. The inspiration for our character came from an East African spirit called ‘Malaika’, which is said to be sent from heaven to help people. It is created from light, so it is entirely transparent, and cannot even think evil, let alone do it. It appears to serve people in distress, defeating evil through its mystical display.

Selecting the right track to create a music video for was quite challenging, as there were a lot of great choices from some amazing independent musicians. In the end, though, Fischerspooner’s track ‘All We Are’ felt like the perfect soundtrack to our interpretation of ‘Better World Optimism’, and became an inspiration in itself for the visual tone of the whole campaign.

This project was awarded a gold craft at the 2006 Loerie Awards.

The Team:

Client: Coca Cola
Artist Collaboration: TM & Rex
Concepts: TM & Rex
Design: TM & Rex
Character Design: TM
2D Animation: TM & Rex
3D Animation: TM & Gerbrand Nel
Compositing: TM & Gavin Hong