the Detroit race riots and tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the
In 1969, photographer Jay Maisel captured a group of black and white boys in New York City. In the iconic shot, which Coke used in print and TV ads in the years that followed, the teens are relaxed and happy. They’re sitting on a city bench, sharing a fun, lighthearted moment over a Coke.
Looks innocent, doesn't it?
When you take a closer look at the photo, you see that the boys are sitting on a segregation bench. Coke mixed things up and tackled taboo head-on. The boys are sitting shoulder to shoulder, with their arms touching across the segregation bar. The ad known simply as “Boys on a Bench” was -- and still is -- a powerful brand statement about togetherness and inclusion.
work in marketing at Coke, you’re spoiled for choice in terms of favorite
pieces of work. And my mum, who has five sons, brought us all up to avoid
favoritism. But of all the brilliant content
At Coke, we
talk a lot about producing #workthatmatters -- storytelling with a social
purpose that reflects our flagship brand’s relentlessly optimistic point of
view and commitment to building a better world. This legacy, which predates "Boys on a Bench," lives on in our creative communications.
Jonathan Mildenhall is senior vice
president of integrated marketing content and design excellence for