What can possibly be seen as a heroic move by AXE and Coca-Cola considering the xenophobic social media backlash that followed the airing of both commercials about peace and love, selling peace, might have actually worked.
Of course AXE sells soap and deodorant and Coca-Cola sells that toxic surgery drink that has made all American’s obese…but for a second they also sold peace. AXE, chose a “happy ending” approach where instead of the stereotypical conclusion to many war scenarios they all end in love and peace. Coca-Cola chose something more specific, that is mulit-lingual and multi-cultural America.
Each presented a new narrative, a different perspective on how America and the world can and should be. Well actually the Coca-Cola ad presented a semi-realistic multi-cultural America (minus all the sparkly lights and magical scenes). And still some might say that its perhaps “peacewashing” (to try to hide the ill’s of a corporation behind campaigns and promotions of peace orientated messaging) a corporate product and that “they really are only in it for the money.” I did a book review about a book on this topic here if you want to know more about big brands and how they can help heal the world.
And then there are the racists and xenophobes that got way to much attention in the media following their outcries against diversity, love, peace, rainbows, baby pandas and all that is good in the world (last part was added for emphasis). The ad not only shows multi-lingual but also other sexual orientations like two dads holding hands with their daughters as they roller skate. The naysayers called the inclusion of different languages as unpatriotic and demanded only English be spoken… even though English is not America’s official language, because, there is not an official language.
I embrace any corporation and brand that wants to be a part of the solution in our world…however that means more than a commercial at the Superbowl. That means brands and corporation treat their workers with dignity, allowing them to unionize, make fair wages and have safe working environments. It means natural resources like water and land belong to the people and should be respected by corporations, not the other way around. Big brands like Coca-Cola, can start with these and continue with wonderful ads that help us make the huge paradigm shift towards a better world. Unless they make real change they will not only alienate their racist former customers but also those that don’t mind the message, they just wish it was “the real thing.”
To be fair, for their part AXE has mixed some good ol’ Corporate Social Responsibility in their campaign and is supporting the PEACE ONE DAY. Peace sells because its pretty sexy to have a crowdsourced wall of people kissing and saying yes to peace as AXE does. Axe used the hashtag #KISSFORPEACE and asked audience to send pictures like these:
Watch both commercials and the Coca-Cola behind the scenes video
Watch the behind the scenes short here:
Bartle Bogle Hegarty
brands - csr - peace - war