The “Coke Small World Machines” provided a live communications
portal linking strangers in two nations divided by more than just borders, with
the hope of provoking happiness and promoting cultural understanding around the
world. Coke and Leo Burnett used first-of-its-kind 3D touchscreen
technology to project a streaming video feed onto the vending machine screen
while simultaneously filming through the unit to capture a live emotional
exchange. People from both countries and various walks of life were encouraged to complete a friendly task together – wave, touch hands, draw a peace sign or dance
– before sharing a
Jackie Jantos Tulloch, Coke’s global creative director and project lead, compares the live simulcast experience to looking into a webcam, face-to-face with another person. “Your actions are literally mirrored,” she explains. “By adding a touch screen, it allowed us to play interactive animations so people could trace things like a heart or smiley face together.”
The project team overcame several engineering, infrastructure and logistical challenges over the last year to turn the Small World Machines vision into reality. The experience was scheduled to take place in January, but one of the machines got stuck in transit, and greater security challenges delayed the team's production.
“Logistically, we had to coordinate two offices inside the Leo Burnett network and another three offices inside the Coke network, as well as several key suppliers,” says Andy DiLallo, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Sydney. “We dealt with time differences, language barriers and cultural sensitivities. But we pulled it off, and that's what matters.”
After successfully setting up the two machines in March –
and adorning each with flower arrangements and other culturally relevant
decorations and colors – the team cleared a few last-minute technology hurdles
before the cameras finally rolled.
“We felt like the little engine that could at times and couldn’t at others,” Jantos Tulloch says.
Crews filmed through the night, capturing more than 100
interactions between people of all ages and from all
walks of life. None of the people featured in the film are actors, and their
reactions are completely natural.
“The people of Pakistan and India share a lot of common passions and interests – from food and Bollywood movies, to Coke Studio music, to cricket,” said Saad Pall, Assistant Brand Manager, ‘Coca‑Cola’, in Pakistan. “What this project did was connect people who are not exposed to each other on a daily basis, enabling the common man in Lahore to see and interact with the common man in Delhi. It’s a small step we hope will signal what’s possible.”
Wasim Basir, integrated marketing communications (IMC)
The film features tender encounters, such as a young girl in
Delhi touching hands with an older woman on the Pakistani side, as well as more
spirited interactions including an impromptu dance-off between two men in their
60s that went on for several minutes.
“We couldn’t get them to stop,” Pall said. “And when they finally did, they were both out of breath.”
DiLallo said hearing people share their stories made the experience even more special. “There was just a level of genuine joy and awe once the Small World Machines were activated,” he said. “Seeing a little kid run up to the machine and try to high-five it was one. Another person came up to me and said he'd lived in India his entire life and had never 'seen into' Pakistan. It was amazing to him to see what they wore. That's such a small thing you would never think about, particularly coming from the West.”
At the end of the nearly 10-hour shoot, both audiences
cranked up the music, danced and waved goodbye to their new-found friends
across the border. The crews behind the camera joined in, too, including the
“It was such a great way to conclude what I consider to be
the highlight of my career,” Jantos Tulloch said. “Working on brand
The experience struck an especially emotional chord for the
“But deep down – as this film shows – humanity is about togetherness and happiness.”