Coca-Cola revives ‘Hilltop’ ad with vintage wardrobe for Samsung AR emoji


Plunge Brief:

Coca-Cola is partnering with digital content company Tafi to create a vintage closet for Samsung’s augmented reality (AR) emoji, according to a press release. The partnership commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1971 “Hilltop” ad.
Starting July 1, Samsung Galaxy users will be able to wear their personalized AR emoji on T-shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts and more, inspired by 70s fashion from the movie “Hilltop,” which starred a large, diverse group of young people singing for peace and unity on a hill in Italy.

Users will be able to access the collection through a link in their smartphone’s camera, as well as through the Samsung Galaxy Store’s AR emoji marketplace. Through this collaboration, Coca-Cola is revisiting one of its most popular campaigns and using mobile AR technology to engage young consumers who may not be aware of the prominence of these ads.

Dive Insight:

To revive a 50-year-old ad for the digital age, Coca-Cola is releasing a vintage closet for Samsung’s AR emoji. The “Hilltop” commercial that became famous first debuted in 1971 and has since become one of the Coke brand’s most iconic commercials. Created by the McCann Erickson agency, now called McCann, the ad was later turned into a full-blown hit song, inspiring hope amid a particularly dark era in U.S. history. It experienced another wave of popularity when it appeared on the series finale of “Mad Men” in 2015. Earlier this year, Coca-Cola announced a clothing line inspired by fashion from the commercials called the Unity Collection.

Through a partnership with Tafi, Coca-Cola is turning Unity Collection into a virtual one to engage digital audiences. Samsung Galaxy users will be able to dress up their AR emoji in the collection’s clothing, including T-shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts and more. The smartphone’s AR capabilities also allow the emoji to be captured as a moving GIF, a feature that Coca-Cola encourages users to activate to convey the positive mood depicted in the original “Hilltop” ad.

Another benefit of working with Tafi, a company that develops branded digital content for mobile platforms, is that Coca-Cola can connect directly with Samsung Galaxy users through a link in the camera of their devices as well as through the Samsung Galaxy Store. Tafi has been working with the Samsung Galaxy, one of the most popular smartphones in the U.S., since October 2020, according to the report.

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AR is an increasingly popular technology among marketers to create interactive digital experiences for young consumers. Earlier this year, Coca-Cola activated mobile AR content on collectible cups as part of a partnership with White Castle. AR emoji, in particular, provide brands with personalized ways to interact with consumers, which may explain Coca-Cola’s decision to team up with Tafi. Such avatars have experienced a rise in popularity across platforms due to virtual habits triggered by the pandemic, and given that video conferencing is expected to remain beyond the health care crisis, avatars could remain a promising touchpoint for marketers.

Coca-Cola also uses nostalgic themes as a way to engage consumers. Like the original Hilltop ad, the virtual clothing collection conveys the “power of colors” with messages of peace, love and unity. Nostalgia is a tried and tested way to use culture and history to engage consumers, and brands continue to activate it in their marketing efforts.

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