Coca-Cola celebrates rediscovered joy of sharing a meal with loved ones

Coca-Cola, a multi-time winner of the World Branding Awards, is releasing its first piece of new creative since COVID-19 lockdowns took effect: a cross-cultural celebration of togetherness over food shot on location during quarantine by pre-screened film crews and directed remotely.

The brands “The Great Meal” is a homage to the silver linings of a global pandemic. The 90-second TV spot features a mosaic of 13 real households in eight countries – families, couples and housemates – preparing and sharing home-cooked meals over an ice-cold Coca-Cola. The people in the film cooked and styled their own food, following their own recipes.

“We wanted to bring to life an authentic, human story to capture how we’re all reappreciating the moments that matter most and to remind us that we’re part of one big, global family,” said Sarah Traverso, group director, IMC production and Coca-Cola North America Social Center.

“It’s an invitation to not leave anything on our plates, figuratively and literally… to not leave things unsaid or undone, and to walk forward with an appreciation for the experiences shared around the dinner table.”

Russ Mischner, IMC director, Coca-Cola North America, adds, “There’s something so enduring and equitable about the pairing of Coke and food. This film is a testimony to that link, but also to the warm feeling of cooking and enjoying a meal with those you care about most, and to the notion that all of us are rediscovering the fact that simple moments are the biggest moments after all.”

Food is integral to the brand’s DNA, says Coca-Cola Trademark Brand Director Erica Tuggle. “This felt like the perfect brief for these times,” she said. “It not only recognised how people are spending more time cooking together and sharing meals and special moments at home, but also the comfort and authenticity of Coke’s connection to food. We see this campaign as a big, unifying sentiment that’s right for both the moment and the brand.”

The spot went from brief to air in under 12 weeks. Anomaly New York cast the people in Orlando, Shanghai, San José, Lisbon, Kiev, London, Mumbai and Mexico City, then dispatched crews to film under strict COVID-19 regulations. “These families graciously welcomed us into their homes, both physically and remotely through technology, to bring our vision to life,” Traverso said. “Everything looks and feels real because it is.”

Los Angeles-based director Kim Gehrig and London-based cinematographer James Laxton called the shots via videoconference alongside Coke teams streaming in from Atlanta and Mexico City.

“We were shooting in multiple cities on the same day, so we’d be up at 1 am watching a production happening at 10 am in Shanghai,” Traverso said. “It was an experience like none other… we developed, captured and produced the entire story without leaving our homes.”

Actress Soleil Patterson provides the voiceover, which guides the viewer through the uplifting narrative over a soundbed of ambient dinner chatter captured in the subjects’ homes and the song “Sabali” by Mali duo Amadou & Mariam.

“The Great Meal” kicks off Coke’s summer campaign, “Together Tastes Better.” The programme also includes photography for out-of-home and in-store advertising, and eight additional films showcasing familiar Coke-and-food rituals of emotion and connection – from watching a game over a snack with friends to making or ordering a pizza with family – that will roll out in July across media channels.

The films were captured in Copenhagen during the lockdown, and the photos were shot on film and digitised for an authentic, textured look. Intentionally modular, the digital-first campaign was created for Coca-Cola teams around the world to tailor and localise for their markets and platforms.

“There was a sense of responsibility on this work, not only to deliver world-class content for the US but also for the world. Our mission to modernise Coke and ‘fooding’ is to think about it as a passion beyond an occasion,” said Jaideep Kibe, VP, Coca-Cola TM, North America. “We need brand Coca-Cola to talk about ‘fooding’ – both food and feeling – in a timely and timeless way.”

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