Coca-Cola's first Olympic sponsorship was in 1928. In the ramp-up to the Beijing Olympic Games 80 years later, Coca-Cola spent tens of millions of dollars to cement its connection with the Olympic traditions of good will and global harmony. Living on the "Coke Side of Life" is all about making the world feel better.
To coordinate the 150-country Olympic marketing blitz, Coke's largest Olympic effort ever, Coke turned to Anthem, a Schawk strategic design company, to translate its Olympics communications strategy to packaging. Faced with balancing the company's visual identity standards with the International Olympic Committee's standards, the "Coke Side of Life" campaign principles, as well as the Beijing Olympics identity, Anthem found its own challenges of Olympic proportions.
With a team drawn from offices around the globe, Anthem worked with a consortium of Coke's global design partners to inspire people through a well-thought-out approach to Coke's Olympic-themed packages. The package designs, guidelines, and standards incorporated brand elements drawn from East andWest to position Coca-Cola as an active participant in the Beijing games. Coca-Cola wished to present themselves as a partner with the Games as the world came together behind certain positive values.
Where East meets West
Michael Coleman, managing director of Anthem Worldwide in the Chicago office, sees the Coke Olympic positioning as a holistic approach that "created a synthesis of East andWest." Coleman explains that the branding and marketing effort included extensive design exploration and the development of a framework to guide potential design implementation in every corner of the world.
Anthem was able to leverage a wide range of their company's talents—from strategic to creative to executional. "We had access to what can be done and what can't be done in all parts of the world," Coleman explains. "We took all the visuals we had at our disposal and put it all together in packaging."
While thematically united, the guidelines offer both freedom for localization and global consistency through thorough specifications and quality controls built into the design templates. "We built all that safety into the process," says Coleman.
In the end, Anthem found Coca- Cola to be a progressive client that embraced brand point management across many media channels to deliver a compelling and consistent brand experience— a bold, empowering, and positive vision. The bold colors and flowing designs create an optimistic message that is a celebration of life and sport.
"Coca-Cola understood how to get the most value in their sponsorship," says Coleman. "It's all about making the world feel better."