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Ogilvy takes Coke Brrr to next level

It's not often that a commercial works its way into the fabric of society and becomes a universally adopted catchphrase. Such was the success of the Coke Brrr campaign, developed and launched by Ogilvy Johannesburg last summer, that phase 2 was awarded to the agency. The same concept is amplified by the second phase, extending the campaign and giving it greater depth and legs.
The brief to Ogilvy was to maintain the Brrr effect in a single, creative idea which stretches across both traditional and non-traditional channels, and which extends into key occasions.

So what is the Brrrr effect? It's the sound you make when something is icy cold. It's the involuntary shudder that you can't help giving in to. It's a burst of energy that elevates your mood and sustains you. It's an infectious, irreversible wave of upliftment..

In short, it's a spontaneous reaction to drinking a Coke, one that you just can't help sharing. It's ice-cold refreshment that uplifts body and soul. It became a saying that people adopted, not only when asking for a Coke, but also when they lacked the words to express their joy. It's a concept that started intrinsically with the feeling of an ice-cold Coca-Cola but which, over time came to mean so much more.

The first version worked so well that the Coke Global Brand Director in Atlanta, Peter Schelstraete called it one of the best Coke Side of Life campaigns produced in the world and it went on to win Coca Cola's Global Marketing Excellence award.

The agency pulled out all the stops and maximized its network capacity. Neo Makhele, the agency's strategic director worked closely with counterparts at Ogilvy agencies in Kenya, Nairobi and Cote d'Ivoire to identify fundamental consumer insights common across the target market - key markets across sub-Saharan Africa, primarily focusing on the youth in the ages 15-24 categories from LSM A and B.


According to Caree Ferrari, business director at Ogilvy Johannesburg, the agency had the opportunity to dimensionalise Brrr and to build on its momentum. “With Brrr 1 we established contagious refreshment: the attributes of physical refreshment, uplifting mind and spirit and a phenomenon that originated entirely in Africa. In Brrr 2, without minimising or diluting the attributes developed for Brrr 1 we see the spreading of the irrepressible African Brrr from country to country.”

She explains that the high levels of heat and humidity throughout much of Africa make the contagious refreshment message all the more relevant. “We want to reinforce the intrinsic temperature message in the infectious portrayal of “Brrr!” which is now synonymous with both the physical refreshment and emotional upliftment one gets when drinking an ice-cold Coca-Cola,” she says.

Key to the concept was to build the Brrr idea and add freshness by developing the story and the memorable characters that consumers can love and who are the perfect embodiment of African optimism and attitude.

The creative team went to work and after an intense session, emerged with a second script in which the Brrr phenomenon goes global. The commercial features our African leader and sidekick from Brrr 1, attending a dull and boring world conference, where high temperatures and humidity levels are clearly evident. Flagging in the heat, our leader gulps down an ice-cold Coke and is consumed by a massive, uncontrollable Brrr. Viewers look on as the spontaneous Brrr travels around the world energising everyone it meets with a surge of refreshing, positive energy. The story concludes with our African leader teaching the Japanese ambassador to Brrr by giving him an ice-cold Coke.

Tapping into talent residing within Ogilvy, the agency commissioned the soundtrack from a musician/songwriter who also works in Ogilvy's creative department.

“The success of the commercial lies not only in its great entertainment value but also in the subtle messaging it competently delivers: that Coca-Cola refreshes so effectively and completely it uplifts both body and spirit; and that Coca-Cola plays a role in spreading an indomitable spirit of resilience and optimism, born in Africa and shared with the world,” says creative director Bridget Johnson.

TV is being used as the lead medium driving the rest of the 360° campaign and will set the tone, tell the story and lay the foundation. Additionally it will be carried across print, point-of-sale, outdoor and radio platforms. Demonstrating its true global appeal, the campaign will initially be flighted in South Africa before being utilised in other African countries.
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