It’s not uncommon for large brands to have some sort of cause behind their multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. For example, Lexus altered gravity with the world’s first hoverboard as part of their “Amazing in Motion” campaign. Starbucks connected people across Twitter and gave them access to free gift cards with their “Tweet-a-Coffee” campaign. Now, Coca-Cola has launched their “Let’s take an extra second” campaign in an attempt to take down social prejudice and “labels.” Watch the Let’s take an extra second experiment: [ecko_youtube]gASeWAwQ96A[/ecko_youtube]

The Middle East branch has introduced a new design of their signature red-and-white can: one without labels. That’s right: the name “Coca-Cola” will not be displayed on the front of the can. There will only be a simple message on the back that reads “Labels are for cans, not for people.”

These label-less cans have only been distributed throughout several Middle Eastern countries during the Muslim holiday Ramadan, which ended mid-July. No word has yet been said if this campaign will spread across to the United States or any other region of the world.

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Image found on the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Coca-Cola has also created videos for this campaign where an experiment was conducted on three different people. A group of people were brought into a room and shown photos of different people: an elderly woman, an African American dressed in street clothing and a man with a long black beard dressed in biker clothing. After looking at the photo for a few seconds, the viewers were asked to describe their thoughts about the person in the photo – such as the their occupation and background. As predicted, prejudice opinions were given about each person in the photo. The elderly woman was described as being inactive and disliking younger generations. The African American man was thought to be a thug, unaccepted by society. The man in the biker outfit was described as someone who doesn’t work and if he did, he would have to be part of a rock band or a biker gang.

After these opinions were collected, the ‘critics’ were shown a video of the person in the photograph taking part in activities or jobs that were the opposite of what they appeared to be. The screen was then pulled back to reveal the real person in the photo and video, where they talked to the viewers and told them what they actually did for a living.

The elderly woman said she embraces younger generations and attends numerous electronic music festivals. The African American man has college degrees in Telecommunications and Information Technology. The man in the biker outfit is a social tutor for young children. After the experiment was complete, the viewers were asked to write a word that is described as being prejudice on a board and then scribble out the “label.”

While Coca-Cola is not the first company to develop a campaign based on social human interaction, it follows the marketing trend of forming a relationship between people and products. Being one of the most powerful brands in the world, Coca-Cola knows how to reach out to just about everyone, no matter age, gender or race. The “Let’s take an extra second” campaign discusses an important issue about how quickly people can label others just from their appearance. It succeeded with having adults come in and help conduct the experiment and also with the production and selling and label-less cans. These kinds of campaigns are a growing trend as more big brands try to combine marketing with social activism. But they are also interesting to watch and they can touch hearts, which can, subsequently, lead to more social awareness and increased sales.

It’s interesting to see how much attention this campaign has gotten even though it’s only been confined in the Middle East area. Could the United States somehow join and expand the campaign and the power behind the label-less cans? We’ll have to wait and see!