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Coca-Cola Targets Online Hate in Its #MakeItHappy Super Bowl Campaign


If you've spent more than three seconds on the Internet, you know it can be a pretty horrible place, swarming with cyberbullies and trolls who've turned comment sections into rotting hate-fests and people's own personal social pages into sources of despair.

Coca-Cola hopes to change all that—or at least, steer things in a different direction—with its 2015 Super Bowl campaign.

The soft drink company revealed Monday that it won't be unveiling its 60-second in-game spot, by Wieden + Kennedy, until it airs nationally on the game. But there will be plenty of teasers released this week—starting with the four below—as the brand preps a message of "optimism, uplift and inclusion" for Sunday.

Three short teasers airing on TV and in cinemas will feature snippets from the :60 and introduce the #MakeItHappy hashtag. You can see those teasers here:

In addition, four longer online videos will roll out this week starring teens and celebs who've experienced online negativity (racecar driver Danica Patrick and football player Michael Sam will star in two of these) or who are devoted to spreading happiness online (Kid President stars in the one of these, which is posted below—the only one released so far).

"It's bold and brave, and intended to disrupt the complacency that's set in around online negativity," Jennifer Healan, Coca-Cola's group director of integrated marketing content, said in a statement about the campaign. "Our goal is to inspire America to become a collective force for positivity."

"Coca-Cola has always stood for optimism, uplift and inclusion… and these core values have been a common thread in our advertising through the years," added Andy McMillin, vp and general manager for Coca-Cola Trademark Brands.

Targeting online hate is an interesting evolution of Coke's "Open happiness" idea. And interestingly, it's a space in which McDonald's is also starting to play. The fast-food marketer, which is also expected to advertised in some capacity on Sunday, recently mentioned online negativity as one topic it's planning to address in its current refresh of "I'm lovin' it."

For Coke, focusing on anything negative—even while positioning itself as the antidote—isn't without its risks. It makes for some pretty dark, un-Coke-like broadcast teasers. And it begs the question: Can a 60-second spot really have any impact on hater culture online?

Coke says it's invested in the issue, though, and is taking real-world steps to address it. The campaign includes a partnership with DoSomething.org before and after the Big Game to spread the message of making the Internet a happier place.

"We're all surrounded by stories of online negativity, and it's a concern that only continues to grow within society," said McMillin. "We hope this campaign inspires people across the country and around the world to show more positivity in their online actions, and to stop and think before posting a negative comment."

The 60-second in-game spot—Coke's ninth consecutive appearance on the Super Bowl—was shot in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Shanghai.

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