Coca-Cola Enters Christmas Movies | CNN Business


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Coca-Cola hopes this holiday season that families will crack open some Coca-Cola, settle into a cozy place and watch the first Christmas Anthology series.

The beverage company has partnered with production company Imagine Entertainment to create three short films, which are available to watch on Amazon Prime worldwide Starting from Wednesday.

The project is a continuation of the Coca-Cola Real Magic platform, which takes an experimental approach to commercializing the company’s core product.

Last year, Real Magic focused on unusual, limited-time flavors like Starlight, Byte, and Dreamworld, which launched alongside digital experiences including a 3D concert and the debut of Fortnite. Christmas Quotes is part of a new platform called Real Magic Presents.

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For Coca-Cola (KO), it’s important to do more than just sell soda — the soft drink giant must reach out to younger consumers and build new traditions, especially as interest in sugary soft drinks stagnates.

“We are always exploring new ways to reach our audience,” said Salman Karega, Head of Category for Coca-Cola Brands, calling Christmas “a great canvas for creativity.” He said the anthology is a “new way to approach” the holiday.

Coca-Cola has a history of associating itself with Christmas, so much so that the company even has a FAQ page on “Did Coca-Cola Create Santa Claus?” (Answer: Sort of. In 1931, the company commissioned a painting of Santa in line with how he is portrayed in the United States today, according to Page.)

In recent years, the company’s polar bears and brightly lit trucks have been closely associated with the holiday.

This year, Coke is trying something with a slightly higher concept.

After launching the Real Magic platform in 2021, Coca-Cola posted a YouTube video called “Real Magic at Christmas”, about a boy who bonds with his new neighbors by working together to build a chimney out of cardboard boxes.

This year, the shorts are longer—between 10 and 12 minutes—and more ambitious.

A vampire meets his girlfriend's family.

There’s “Alma,” which shows a single mother who has gone cold at Christmas and is reminded of her holiday cheer by a sentient computer; “Les Petits Mondes De Nol”, a volatile romance about two exes who meet in Paris; and “Christmas Bites” about a vampire who conquers his girlfriend’s family when he proposes to Santa on Christmas Eve.

The viewer wouldn’t necessarily know these were Coca-Cola movies, except for the fact that every movie features at least one character sipping a Coke.

But for the company, the shorts are about more than just product placement. “It allows us to work on content that fits with our Real Magic platform,” Careaga said.

The movies aren’t your typical Christmas movie, and not just because they’re shorts. There are no overt romances, squishy snowflakes swirling around skimpy ensembles or ugly sweaters (at least, not much).

The Hallmark model may be popular in the United States, but it doesn’t necessarily have global appeal, said Mark Gelbar, executive vice president of branding and documentaries at Imagine Entertainment.

The characters reconnect

“I mentioned Hallmark Movies,” Gelbar said to members of the global team working on the project. “This acronym doesn’t mean much to someone in Spain or to someone in Argentina. It’s more focused on our traditions.”

Coca-Cola Selection is designed to appeal to a global audience. “Alma” is written in Mexico in Spanish and “Les Petits Mondes De Nol” in French. Only “Christmas Bites” is in English.

And while these are certainly Christmas movies, they aren’t overtly religious.

“Christmas means different things to different people,” Gelbar said. “The religious aspect didn’t really come out. It was more about other traditions.”

While Coke is dipping its toes into the movie industry, rival Pepsi has taken another approach, partnering with “Falling for Christmas” star Lindsay Lohan to promote Pilk, or Pepsi plus Milk, as a holiday tradition.

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