The world as we know it has gone pretty far this year to fight for equality and tolerance. Coca-Cola is riding the zeitgeist in a new campaign that sees the soda giant removing its labels in the Middle East to send the message that labeling cans is fine, but labeling people is not.
The limited-edition label-free cans carry the iconic Coke stripe and the words, “Labels are for cans, not for people.” What they don’t carry is the brand logo and name. The label removal coincides with the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, that ends on the evening of July 17.
“In the Middle East, a region with over 200 nationalities and a larger number of labels dividing people, these Coca-Cola cans send a powerful and timeless message that a world without labels is a world without differences,” says the Dubai-based agency FP7/DXB, according to Campaign India. “And that we are all basically just the same—human.”
FP7, a division of McCann Worldwide; Memac Ogilvy; and Coke teamed up to create a social experiment that invited a few Middle Eastern men talking about themselves to one another—in the dark at an Iftar, the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan. When the lights come up, the men are surprised by the people who surround them. Each is then given a new can of Coke without the label.
The premise: “It takes just seven seconds to build a prejudice based on someone’s appearance. This Ramadan, Coke invited six strangers to an Iftar in the dark. See what they discovered and how it changed the way they see the world.”
This all ties in with Coke’s global “Let’s take an extra second” campaign that has the brand encouraging consumers to ditch their stereotypes and take the time to get to know those around them a bit better (hopefully, while enjoying a product made by Coca-Cola).
In Bangladesh, meanwhile, Coca-Cola is wishing a happy and healthy Ramadan with the following spot. The theme: “As we urbanize, modernize and technology brings us virtually closer, it is creating physical distances amongst us. The most joyful memories of Ramadan are associated with celebrating iftaars and dawats with our families and friends.”
Last year’s Ramadan campaign (below) from Coca-Cola Middle East (“Open up, it’s Ramadan!”) also encouraged an open mind, with a dad helping a son’s dreams come true, which connected to the brand’s “Open Happiness” global tagline and brand platform: