- Coca-Cola is partnering with digital content company Tafi to create a vintage wardrobe for Samsung augmented reality (AR) emoji, per a press release. The tie-up is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Coke brand's 1971 "Hilltop" ad.
- Starting July 1, Samsung Galaxy users will be able to dress their personalized AR emoji with T-shirts, tank tops, sweatsuits and more inspired by the '70s fashion from "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 via a link in their smartphone's camera, as well as through the Samsung Galaxy Store's AR emoji marketplace. Through the tie-up, Coca-Cola is hearkening back to one of its most popular campaigns and leveraging mobile AR technology to reach younger consumers who may not know about the ad's renown.
To revitalize a 50-year-old ad for the digital age, Coca-Cola is releasing a vintage wardrobe for Samsung AR emoji. The ad being celebrated, "Hilltop," first debuted in 1971 and has since become known as one of the Coke brand's most iconic spots. Created with agency McCann Erickson, now called McCann, the ad was later spun into a full-length hit song, inspiring hope amid a particularly dark era in U.S. history. It experienced another wave of popularity when it appeared in the series finale of TV show "Mad Men" in 2015. Earlier this year, Coca-Cola announced a line of clothing inspired by the fashion in the ad, called Unity Collection.
Through its partnership with Tafi, Coca-Cola is turning the Unity Collection virtual to tap into digital audiences. Samsung Galaxy users will be able dress their AR emoji in the collection's apparel, including shirts, tank tops, sweatsuits and more. The smartphone's AR capabilities also allow emoji to be captured in moving-GIF form, a feature that Coca-Cola is pushing users to activate in order to reflect the positive moods depicted in the original "Hilltop" ad.
Another advantage of teaming with Tafi, which designs branded digital content for mobile platforms, is that Coca-Cola can reach Samsung Galaxy users directly via a link in their devices' cameras, as well as through the Samsung Galaxy Store. Tafi has worked with Samsung Galaxy, one of the most popular smartphones in the U.S., since October 2020, per the announcement.
AR is increasingly becoming a go-to technology for marketers to create interactive, digital experiences for younger consumers. Earlier this year, Coca-Cola activated mobile AR content via collector's cups in a tie-up with White Castle. AR emoji in particular provide personalized opportunities for brands to connect with consumers, which could help explain Coca-Cola's decision to team with Tafi. Such avatars experienced a boost in popularity across a range of platforms due to virtual habits spurred by the pandemic, and given that videoconferencing is expected to stick around after the health crisis ends, avatars could continue to be a promising touch point for marketers.
Coca-Cola is also leveraging nostalgic themes as a way to engage with consumers. As with the original "Hilltop" ad, the virtual clothing collection channels "flower power" with messages of peace, love and unity. Nostalgia is a tried and tested way to use culture and history to reach consumers, and brands are continuing to activate it through their marketing efforts.