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Coca-Cola Light Invites Fans to 'Choose Love Over Like’

By:  Jay Moye Mar 13, 2014
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Diet Coke -- or Coca-Cola Light, as it’s known in most countries -- is on a mission to convert “likers” into “lovers.”

“Choose Love Over Like” invites fans of the brand to embrace life’s every moment with the same unwavering passion they have for their beloved beverage. “If you speak to Coca-Cola Light or Diet Coke consumers around the world, you’ll find that they are absolute devotees who adore this brand,” said Guy Duncan, global group content director, The Coca-Cola Company. “If asked to do away with their Diet Coke or their mobile phone, they wouldn’t know which one to choose.”

A film kicked off the campaign in early-February with a 60-second celebration of those who realize that a full life starts with choosing love in the little things. The spot, which premiered in Austria and will soon launch in Mexico and additional countries, generated more than 4 million YouTube views in its first week online.

“It’s very easy to ‘like’, but love requires more exertion,” Duncan explained. “Many people are content living their busy lives on auto-pilot. We wanted to explore what would happen if we change our daily routines a little bit and choose love over like.”

Global brand director Elena Pinakatt said the campaign was inspired by a Dalai Lama quote: “The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.”

“We’re their reminder in their day to choose a life of love because, ultimately, it will be more fulfilling,” she added. “Life is short, so we should follow our hearts and live the life we want to live.”

Creative agency Johannes Leonardo produced the film, which was shot in Santiago, Chile, and directed by Melina Matsoukas, who said she was instantly drawn to the concept. “I found myself throughout the prep process, questioning my own daily routine - was I liking or loving?” she said. “The opportunity to visualize that choice to others was incredibly exciting.”

Duncan said Matsoukas -- a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and Grammy Award-winning music video director who has worked with Rihanna and Lady Gaga -- personified the message of the campaign. “She loved the idea of associating our brand with empowerment and choosing a life of optimism,” he said. “She grasped the project with two hands and collaborated with us beautifully.”

Miranda Madar, who led the production for Coke’s content excellence team, saw a noticeable shift in the crew’s energy during the transition from the “like” scenes to the “love” scenes. “There were smiles, excitement, enthusiasm and pure, genuine fun,” she said. “Those scenes prompted people to start talking about their own lives and things they would do differently if they were to choose love every day. It proved that there is motivational power behind this idea.”

Once the shoot wrapped in November 2013, the team scrambled to find an equally inspiring soundtrack. After a lengthy search, they landed on British singer-songwriter’s John Newman’s hit, “Love Me Again.”

“In most cases, we produce films after finding the music,” Duncan explained, “but that wasn’t the case here. We tried so many tracks -- all of which were either too old-fashioned or out of touch with what we wanted to communicate. The lyrics are spot-on and super relevant, and the song bursts into the incredibly uplifting and catchy chorus at just the right moment. We put it to picture, and it was perfect.”