Coke’s ‘Real Magic’ casts a new spell!

04 Oct,2021


By Prabhakar Mundkur


Prabhakar MundkurCoke and Pepsi have been at it for half a century, trying to outsmart each other both for marketing share and advertising that makes the brand relevant to the youth. Real Magic, the new commercial by Coke, I think has taken a giant leap and  does manage to outsmart Pepsi.


Firstly, it is rooted in Gen Z passions by basing the idea on gaming. The gaming market is expected to reach USD 398,950 million by 2026 growing at an annual rate of 11%.  Secondly, the Coke commercial is based on a philosophy that makes more sense than ever before.


Says Manolo Arroyo, marketing lead at Coca-Cola: “The ‘Real Magic’ philosophy is rooted in the belief that dichotomies can make the world a more interesting place-a world of extraordinary people, unexpected opportunities and wonderful moments.”  The philosophy itself is not new – the hippie revolution believed in this more than anyone else right since the 60s.  The world is growing more apart as we celebrate our differences rather than our similarities. The real idea behind the wave of globalisation was to embrace our dichotomies.



” ‘Real Magic’ is not simply a tagline or a one-off campaign,” says Arroyo. “It is a long-term brand philosophy and belief that will drive and guide marketing and communications across the Coca-Cola trademark.” Maybe it was about time for Coke to try something new given its sluggish sales in the recent past.  Real Magic then succeeds ‘ Taste the feeling’ which was first introduced in 2016. BETC London, along with director Daniel Wolfe made the film.


The campaign also uses the Coca-Cola logo to wrap around the campaign images.  I thought this was a pretty unique treatment of the logo given that the curvature of the Coke bottle or can always makes the logo seen this way.



Also the tagline ‘We are one Coke away from each other’ is reminiscent of the six degrees of separation theory first propounded in 1929 which said that we are on an average six or fewer social connections away from each other. With the expansion of the internet and social media to cover people around the world has often meant that we might very often be just one connection away from each other.  Or one coke away from each other.  Clever!


The commercial shows a World of Warcraft type of battle in progress until one of the contestants opens a can of Coke. After the contestants first sip, Orc in the game is overcome with feeling and throws away his battle axe, picks up his opponent and there is suddenly peace in the gaming universe. A metaphor for World Peace?


There is a lesson to be learnt here for the world. After all we if we all threw out our weapons nuclear or otherwise, one of the principles of nuclear disarmament, we might be all less threatening to each other.


Having grown up as a teenager in the 60s, all these little nuggets of philosophy make great sense to me, although it is supposed to appeal to Gen Z.  And if Gen Z does think like this maybe we can hope for World Peace as eulogised by John Lennon in his immortal song Imagine!


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