In Latin America, we’ve embraced Coke’s mission of spreading happiness and optimism, offering a positive point of view about what’s really happening in the world. Last year, we launched a number of initiatives around the message that we have Reasons to Believe in a better world, demonstrating that the good people out there outnumber the bad people. Next year, we’ll be officially kicking off a Cultural Leadership campaign, showing normal people doing acts of kindness and encouraging others to join in the movement.

In the meantime, we wanted to keep that momentum going by showing that acts of kindness and bravery are taking place all over the world. And we knew we needed to do more than just tell people; we needed to show them.  So the idea for “Security Cameras” was born.

The reputation of security cameras is, of course, inherently negative. Their very existence seems to imply that the world is a scary, dangerous place. But they capture real life, and we know that real life is not full of bad people. For many in Argentina, this recently struck home when a piece of security camera footage circulated showing a car stuck on train tracks, with two young men on a motorcycle behind it. One of the young men jumped off the bike and pushed the car off the tracks, saving the lives of those inside and avoiding a collision with an oncoming train by a fraction of a second. This resonated with us because it’s powerful, emotional, and hits you in the heart. And we had to wonder how many more examples like this were simply flying under the radar.

Creative Director Martín Mercado and his team, along with our production partner Landia, undertook a massive search at the end of 2011. They combed through security camera footage online and from various television programs to find more examples of heroism, happiness, and real-life stories that display the type of the positive emotion and humanity we knew was taking place every day. Once they’d identified possibilities, the time-consuming process of tracking down the people in the videos began. In most cases, we were able to contact the sources who had uploaded the videos to the internet, and work with them to eventually identify and connect with those who’d appeared on-camera. For many of the vignettes, we were able to buy the usage rights for the original footage so that we could include it in the spot. In a few cases, it simply proved impossible to find the people featured in the footage to compensate them for the usage rights, so we re-created the real scenes exactly. Authenticity proved to be a question raised some viewers, but all of these situations are indeed real.

Beyond sharing this footage, we wanted to capitalize on the “shock value” of security cameras capturing the best side of humanity as opposed to the worst. Martín and his team found cheeky and clever ways to underscore the irony with the captions pointing out the thieves, dealers and gangs that make the world a better place.

We posted the spot on YouTube, and introduced it to our Fan First program, distributing it across our Coke’s fans on Facebook in Latin America. It was only available online, and not supported by a media or advertising buy. And it just took off. Within weeks, it had racked up more than six million views from every corner of the world. For us, this viral success was further proof that there are reasons to believe in a better world. And sometimes they can be found where you least expect it.

Guido Rosales is the Latin America Advertising Strategy and Integrated Marketing Communication Director.