Coca-Cola put a modern-day twist on the soda shops of yesteryear with a pop-up summer experience at the Mall of Georgia near Atlanta.
Mallgoers took a break from their shopping to stop by the #SodaShoppe, where they could enjoy handcrafted (nonalcoholic) “Coke-tails”, hang out with friends and snap shareworthy photos inside a custom “bubble room.”
Ted Ketterer, senior brand manager, Coca-Cola North America, said the #SodaShoppe concept was developed in response to teens’ desire for fun hangout spots that offer immersive and personalized experiences. Coke’s brand, R&D and design teams collaborated on the project, which drew inspiration from the Museum of Ice Cream’s sensory-stimulating installations.
“We knew we wanted to be in places where teens are, and to give them an opportunity to create their own Coca-Cola beverages, experiences and stories – versus showing up at a party uninvited with nothing to add,” he said. “Teens love freedom from rules or constraints, so we thought creating a space where they could experiment and enjoy a personalized Coke beverage would be perfect.”
Inside the #SodaShoppe, which was built with modularity in mind using refurbished shipping containers, mixologists welcomed guests to a bar where they could exchange Coke-branded tokens for a signature Coke-tail… or build their own.
“We wanted to create an environment where teens could create memories and enjoy a made-just-for them Coca-Cola beverage experience,” said Lauren Olaya, senior industrial designer, Coca-Cola North America. “The intimacy of having a crafted Coca-Cola made in front of them by a person, not a machine – shaken or stirred, garnished and handed to them – is more personal, more curated.”
Olaya said the lightly branded experience’s “familiar-yet-surprising” aesthetic leans on Coke’s soda fountain roots while tuning into current trends. “We wanted to maintain a certainly level of authenticity and subtlety,” she added. “We didn’t want to scream Coca-Cola, visually.”
Over the course of four weeks, the #SodaShoppe served nearly 15,000 Coke-tails. Coca-Cola is evaluating the pilot for possible reuse in teen hotspots around the world, from movie theaters to theme parks.
“This pilot is one example of how we approach the design of new consumer experiences – co-creating, testing and evolving quickly, so they can be scaled while remaining relevant,” Cristiana Grether, senior director, global design thinking, Coca-Cola.