Can true love fall from the sky? In a romantic commercial that would make Cupid proud, bouquets of red balloons drift down to a busy cityscape below on Valentine’s Day, bringing with them cans of Coca-Cola for unsuspecting couples to share.
“Happiness is in the Air” – which debuted during the Feb. 14, 2013 episode of American Idol – was created by Hugh Mitton, a 23-year-old director from New Zealand. The 60-second film won the grand prize at a Cannes Lions 2012 competition sponsored by MOFILM, a community that connects brands with independent filmmakers through crowd-sourcing contests and projects.
Mitton responded to a creative brief from Coca-Cola, which challenged filmmakers from around the world to create and submit ads that celebrate moments of happiness in connection with a holiday.
He had the idea to shoot balloons descending on Wellington, New Zealand, a harbor city surrounded by scenic overlooks. “The thought went something like, ‘If we can see the whole city from here, we could get a Coke to anyone in it,’” Mitton recalls. “That was literally the starting point.”
Later, he landed on Valentine’s Day as his holiday hook. “It fit perfectly,” he continued. “Yes, the couples are sharing a Coke, but what they're really sharing is a moment together, tinged with surprise.” Read a Q&A with Mitton for more details on the making of the ad.
Marketers at Coke are equally excited about the spot, which they will promote on Facebook and other social and digital channels. “Our relationship with MOFILM is in its fourth year and has produced great content on many of our brands in many important markets,” said Jonathan Mildenhall, senior vice president of integrated marketing content and design excellence for
American Idol is by far the biggest stage the company has given to crowdsourced content. “This work redefines the benchmark of open-sourced excellence,” Mildenhall added.
The film clearly articulates Coca-Cola’s brand values and connection to Valentine’s Day. In other words, according to David Campbell, Coke’s global content director, it delivers the right message at the right time. “It’s one thing to represent happiness as a brand – which we’ve done for over 126 years – but what we’re trying to do today, more than ever, is to inspire people to create and share happy moments every day,” he explains.
When asked what he hopes viewers will get out of his film, Mitton had this to say: “A little bit of a warm heart – I mean, it's Valentine's after all – and a renewed appreciation for the simple gestures we can make for each other, anywhere, anytime.”
“Happiness in the Air” follows “Love Machine,” a viral film Coca-Cola Turkey created for Valentine’s Day 2012. A vending machine customized with a hidden camera dispensed free Coca-Cola to couples who could prove their love through a hug or kiss in a busy Istanbul shopping mall.