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Coke Unveils ‘Happiness Flag’ Before FIFA World Cup Opening Match

By:  Journey Staff Jun 12, 2014
Happiness Flag

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL The faces of football fans from 207 countries made it onto the pitch at Arena de Sao Paulo before the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup as Coca-Cola unveiled “The Happiness Flag” before an estimated global audience of more than 1 billion people.

The largest-ever, digitally produced Photomosaic® flag used more than 200,000 fan-submitted images to recreate a unique design by Brazilian street artist Speto in collaboration with Argentinian artist Tec. The flag was digitally produced by Robert Silvers, inventor of Photomosaic technology.

Formed of 192 printed nylon fabric panels, the flag was stitched together to deliver an epic, 3,015-square- meter piece of art covering almost the entirety of the playing surface.

Happiness Flag

 “At the start of our campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ‘The World’s Cup’, we set out to create the most inclusive and participatory FIFA World Cup ever,” said Emmanuel Seuge, vice president, global alliances and ventures, The Coca-Cola Company. “Through the Happiness Flag, we gave fans from all around the world the unprecedented opportunity to be a part of the greatest football stage of all. Football has an incredible power to bridge social, cultural and geographical divides, and the Happiness Flag is the perfect illustration of this power, creating a shared experience for people.”

Happiness Flag

Speto (left), Coke's Brad Fields and Tec in São Paulo.


Speto, who created the Coca-Cola 2014 FIFA World Cup VIS, responded to the challenge to create a design for the flag. “When we first briefed Speto, he told us, ‘While Brazil and Argentina have a historic rivalry in football, in art, we are comrades,’” recalls Brad Fields, Coca-Cola global licensing manager, “And that’s what this project is all about: ‘Hilltop’ on a flag.’” He’s referring to the iconic 1971 Coca-Cola ad featuring a multinational chorus of young people gathering on a hilltop in Italy to sing together. Read a Forbes feature on the Happiness Flag.

Once Speto and Tec finished their canvas painting, Coca-Cola sent a digitized version to Silvers, who spent the last few months recreating the colorful design with fan photos posted to www.happinessflag.com. The finished product was shipped, section by section, to Rio de Janeiro, where it was printed. Check out a neat infographic on the Happiness Flag.

The digital version of the flag will live on www.happinessflag.com, where consumers can see an aerial shot of the flag and hover over the mosaic to explore the photos. Fans who submitted photos will receive a link to see exactly where they were on the flag -- and on the pitch -- and are encouraged to share their photo using #worldscup.

The Happiness Flag is part of Coke’s largest-ever marketing campaign, “The World’s Cup,” which celebrates the inclusive spirit shared by Coca-Cola, football and Brazil. “The World’s Cup” also includes:

  • The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, which traveled 92,000 miles around the world visiting 90 countries and giving more than 1 million fans the opportunity to experience the real FIFA World Cup trophy.
  • A series of Where Will Happiness Strike Next? short films shot during the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, which capture the power of football to help people triumph over adversity. The films have been viewed more than 15 million times worldwide, to date.
  • A global music anthem, “The World is Ours” by David Correy featuring Monobloco takes inspiration from the sounds and rhythms of Brazil. More than 32 local versions of the song have been recorded around the world. Coca-Cola released a refreshed version with the help of American soul-singer Aloe Blacc for inclusion on the official FIFA World Cup album, One Love, One Rhythm.
  • A uniquely Brazilian visual identity, designed by Speto, which can be seen on Coca-Cola packaging, equipment and point-of-sale materials in 175 countries. 
  • ‘One World, One Game,’ a global TV and digital film which tells the stories of four football teams from four different corners of the world who have each overcome challenges through their love of football. The teams will carry the national team flags onto the pitch for the Germany vs. Portugal match on June 16.
  • Two global digital platforms: 1) A partnership with Quiz Up, a trivia-based game and the fast-growing app for iOS and Android covering 40 topics on football game and Coca-Cola history; and 2) A Coca-Cola fan album in partnership with Panini, which has already seen 2.2 million users register for the game, with 146 million stickers traded worldwide.

“We set out on a journey to deliver the largest and most inclusive marketing program in our history,” said Joe Tripodi, Coke’s executive vice president and chief marketing and commercial officer. “Through ‘The World’s Cup,’ we brought Brazil to the world and now, wherever you live, whoever you support, Coca-Cola is looking forward to welcoming you to Brazil to celebrate with the host country for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

Coca-Cola Journey will serve as a hub for all ‘The World’s Cup’ campaign content throughout the month-long tournament, providing a single destination for media and consumers to experience the campaign and highlights from the brand.

Watch the Films from ‘The World’s Cup’ Campaign