News / Asia

Coke Ad Hawks Pop, Peace to India, Pakistan

This screenshot from Coca-Cola's short film "Small World Machines" shows two men from India and Pakistan reaching out to each other through high-tech touchscreens in Lahore and New Delhi.
This screenshot from Coca-Cola's short film "Small World Machines" shows two men from India and Pakistan reaching out to each other through high-tech touchscreens in Lahore and New Delhi.
Massive corporations like Coca-Cola have a primary goal: Sell their products to make money. Sometimes, if they’re lucky, that goal aligns with another endeavor: Make peace. A new three-minute advertisement released by the beverage company this week aims to do both.

Coca-Cola filmed the advertisement in two locations: Pakistan and India, South Asia’s nuclear-armed neighbors mired in political mistrust that has spurred three historic wars. The company set up Coke vending machines outfitted with live-streaming cameras and 3D touchscreen technology in shopping malls in Lahore, Pakistan and New Delhi, India to entice people to virtually cross the border dividing them.

Watch the video:



Curious onlookers were invited to stand before the machine, from which they were filmed and streamed in real time to the screen of the vending machine on the other side of the border, and interact with the person they saw peering back at them.

Coke and the advertising group Leo Burnette asked people to interact with the strangers opposite them before drinking a can of Coke dispensed from the machine.

Men and women, old and young, “touch” hands, wave, dance, toast and make peace signs through the screens. The result is not just technologically impressive, it’s moving, even if the heart-strings are being tugged by the world’s biggest soft drink company.

Wasim Basir, integrated marketing communications director for Coca-Cola in India, said the experiment, though plagued by logistical and technical problems, was worth the effort.

“We wondered what would happen if people from these two countries came together; and the answer was clear: goodness and happiness," he said on the Coke blog.

The company says the ad, titled, “Coca Cola Small World Machines - Bringing Pakistan and India Together,” shows that “what unites us is stronger than what sets us apart.”

Coca-Cola is also hoping it will change some hearts and minds in Pakistan, where the population favors Pepsi, Coke’s main worldwide rival.

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