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Ad of the Day: Happiness Is Movement and Vice Versa in Johnny Kelly's Coke Film


How do you butter people up to the idea that Coca-Cola is pro-health? Not with a starchy educational film. You hire the director of one of the most beloved ads of recent years to create another precious miniature world—without the dark edges.

That was the wise path taken by Coca-Cola, which tapped Johnny Kelly of Nexus—famous for having directed Chipotle's "Back to the Start" video—for a gleeful trot with animatronic puppets through one man's happy life, made possible by drinking sugary soda but not letting its residue collect in his arteries by sitting on the couch all day.

Indeed, for this guy, happiness is movement, and vice versa—from his own birth (after which his parents somewhat recklessly toss him in the air) all the way through that of his own child. The idea is charmingly communicated by the visuals, which proceed back in time, scene by scene, by panning right to left. (The camera eventually pulls back to show all the scenes perched atop Coke's famous red ribbon.) The message is also reinforced by the Kimya Dawson-like, chicken-or-egg-themed soundtrack—a somewhat cloying though certainly earwormy original by music house Antfood.

"The brief was to show how movement was key to his happiest moments, so we commissioned model-making virtuosos Anarchy to create a set of moving animatronic puppets that can run, jump and throw babies in real time," Kelly writes on his Vimeo page. A blurb on the Nexus site adds: "Using real automaton puppets allowed us to capture spontaneous motion with all the joy, imperfection and chaos that comes with it."

The result might seem a tad wooden to some—the puppets' unthinking repetition could be interpreted as the brand literally just going through the motions. But the instinct is right on when it comes to Coke tackling obesity. You don't do it by talking about obesity. You do it with as much oblique cuteness and catchiness as possible, and you hope for the best.

Client: Coca-Cola
Agency: The Cyranos for McCann Worldgroup Europe
General Creative Director: Leandro Raposo
Executive Creative Director: Pablo Colonnese
Creative Directors: David Fernandez / Jon Lavin
Account Manager: Pedro Pina
Strategic Planning Director: Oriol Bombi
Agency Producer: Los Producers

Director: Johnny Kelly
Production Company: Nexus
ECD: Chris O’Reilly
Executive Producers: Luke Youngman, Julia Parfitt
Producer: Jo Bierton
Project Manager: Zoe Verrier-Stunt, Fernanda Garcia Lopez
Project Lead / Cg Supervisor: Mark Davies
VFX Supervision: Dave Walker
Designer: Jack Cunningham
Character design: Jack Cunningham & Bjørn-Erik Aschim
3D previs: Patrick Tomasini, Joe Sparrow, Florian Caspar

Model Build: Anarchy
Special Effects Supervisor: Bob Thorne @ Anarchy
Digital Designer / Cnc Supervisor: Jason Szukalski @Anarchy
Art Department: Paula Vine, Jonathan Bickerdike, Dave Allum, James Churches, Alex Roseberry, Robin Saunders, Joe Szukalski

Director of Photography: Matthew Day
Camera Assistant: Toby Goodyear
Gaffer: Aldo Camilleri
Moco Operator: Danny Murphy
Moco Previs Supervisor: Andy Bull
Automaton Operator: Max Halstead
Offline Editor: David Slade
Overlay/Playback: Karl Taggart
Catering: Konrad Lindholme
Studio Manager: Elizabeth Day

Compositing, post production & grade: Time-Based Arts
Music & Sound Design: Antfood

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