Two Coca-Cola Journey storytellers and a full production team recently hit the road on a three week cross-country road trip dubbed JourneyxJourney (“JxJ”). The purpose: to find and tell Coca-Cola stories across America.

Fans followed along as the JxJ crew produced content live from the road. Thanks in part to a motor home that served as a "Mobile Brand Publishing HQ", the team cranked out more than 20 videos, 10-plus written stories, and over 200 social media posts for the JourneyxJourney website and Coke Journey’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat accounts.

But where did the idea come from? And how did it all come together? We'll take you behind the scenes to find out!

Putting Journey on the Map

Three years ago, the idea of taking Coca-Cola Journey on a literal journey surfaced. One year ago, that idea manifested into a real project after a phone call with Ford Motors… about a completely unrelated topic. A conversational tangent on that call brought up the road trip concept, and lo and behold, it ended up working in everyone’s favor. JourneyxJourney planning (un)officially began.

The idea was for Emily Bucherati and myself to hit the road as a storytelling, social media’ing, modern-day Thelma and Louise, if you will. Ford offered a new 2017 Ford Escape to drive that dream into reality. 

[Left to right] Journey team members Emily Bucherati, Meagan Priselac and Hannah Nemer see the JourneyxJourney 2017 Ford Escape for the first time.

Fast-forward through the nitty gritty logistics, and we had ourselves a deal. The initial pitch of just the two of navigating our way across the U.S., working from the passenger seat with a wi-fi hot spot and car inverter, turned into a full caravan of JxJ vehicles, carrying a whole team of people to bring the storytelling adventure to life. (Granted, the hot spot and inverter still came in handy.)

JxJ hit the road on Tuesday, Sept. 13, with two storytellers, two camera operators, one editor, one producer/logistics coordinator and a creative director. The storytellers drove the 2017 Ford Escape, the camera crew rode in the “MoHo” decked out with a full editing suite, and the rest followed along in a “sprinter vehicle.”

The Production

Making a cross-country storytelling road trip look easy, isn't easy. From filming and directing to all the essential roles in between, it was all the hard work that happened behind the lens that truly brought these Coca-Cola Journey stories to life!

Los Angeles-based videographers Jeff McCoy and Rick Starick filmed the entire trip. The talented duo captured interviews and b-roll (supplemental footage) with the latest camera technology including a 4k RED camera, go-pros and a drone. A slew of creative directors that rotated throughout the trip, helped call the shots during each video shoot. Then at the end of each day, the high-quality footage was handed over to editor Tyler Stooksbury, from The Tombras Group. Tyler worked in the “MoHo” editing hours and hours of content into 20+ JxJ videos, each under two-minutes. Final videos were added to YouTube and shared on Journey.

Tyler Stooksbury works on the latest JxJ road trip video at his editing suite in the MoHo.

But before the cameras started rolling, producer/logistics coordinator/cat herder/mother hen Macy Whitener was already in action. It was her job to keep everyone on the same page. From holding nightly team recap meetings, to sending out a detailed itineraries for the next day’s shoot, to even texting everyone in the morning to make sure they ate breakfast, Macy was on it.

Click through a few behind-the-scenes photos in this slideshow:

Even more behind the scenes was the extended team back “home”, holding down the fort. Team Journey, led by Jenny Wilburn, were an integral part in keeping this trip on track. As for team Tombras, Mark Greico and crew kept the narrative alive from afar.

Team work makes the dream work, baby!

The Storytellers

Now for a peek into our lives on the road as the “JxJ storytellers.”

From the outside looking in, the road trip might have looked like a lot of play, with a little work. At least, we hope so!

Emily and I are very thankful for the production team’s ability to make this adventure look glamorous. Getting to that polished point, however, was anything but. From planning an internal launch event, to mapping out the route and strategically planning for three weeks acting as on-air talent; from filming multiple stories a day and hosting interviewees, to then covering all these stories on social media in real time; from sending daily recaps, writing new Journey stories, and planning for the next day’s film shoot, to checking into a new hotel every night, waking up early to get “camera ready”, and oh yes, driving 4,000+ miles… it was a lot of work.

But we asked for it, we embraced it, and in the end? We loved it.

Click through a few behind-the-scenes photos in this slideshow:

In addition to a myriad of other responsibilities, Emily and I manage Coke Journey's social media handles – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Snapchat. This part of our day job made the execution of the trip much easier. 

Having each other made the process easier as well. People often ask Emily and I how we managed to spend so much time together on the road and stay collaborative friends. The answer is easy – every day brought meaningful stories that brought us closer together.

Emily and I both joined Coca-Cola Journey a little over three years ago. We both quickly discovered there was so much more to Coca-Cola than, well, Coca-Cola. From sustainability efforts to community involvement, it was obvious there were an infinite number of Coca-Cola stories to be told. It’s a wonderful feeling to know we’ve played a part in telling them.

Emily and Meagan look out over Chattanooga, TN after filming at Rock City.

The road trip may be over, but the Coca-Cola journey continues.