Coke and Adobe crowdsource design ideas for the 2020 Olympics


The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo might be two years away, but Coca-Cola is already making a marketing play. On Oct. 18, the brand announced a collaboration with Adobe for a new crowdsourcing campaign called “Coke x Adobe x You,” in which Coca-Cola is calling for designers to create their own Olympic-themed designs using its brand images and Adobe’s suite of design apps.

The campaign is a way to generate early interest in the games, but it is also the first time Coca-Cola, which is a founding partner of the Olympics, is asking the global community to capture the identity of the games, according to James Sommerville, vp of design at Coca-Cola.

Normally, Coca-Cola would give an ad agency a creative brief and a substantial budget to develop a design concept around the games, said Sommerville. This time, that creative brief is open to the world.

“We are really trying to disrupt our own process,” he said. “The way we are seeing Toyko 2020 is that this really doesn’t need to go to a single agency. The spirit of the Olympic Games is to celebrate global achievement. We want to take those same values and celebrate the global design community.”

To start things off, Coca-Cola had 15 artists from around the world, including photographer Guy Aroch of Israel, contribute their own designs, which appear on the Coke x Adobe x You website and will help promote the campaign on social. Although the brand did not disclose how much it compensated these artists, it’s likely the cost was less than going to a design firm.

This is not to say that Coca-Cola isn’t going to work with any ad agencies for the Olympics. Rather, Coca-Cola is planning to bring in agencies, possibly next year, to draw upon the ideas from the submissions, said Sommerville. “What this design-led activation enables us to do is create a design language that we can then bring to other agency partners, whether they make digital content or on-site activations.” Some of the submissions might eventually be commercialized as well, according to Sommerville.

The approach also allows the brand to uncover new talent from around the world who could provide a unique point of view on Coca-Cola, Sommerville said. For Adobe, the partnership helps promote its Creative Cloud suite of apps and ties in with its branding position of “design for good.”

Coca-Cola and Adobe are directing people to to download the Coca-Cola creative brief and assets, which include an outline of a Coca-Cola bottle and the brand’s ribbon, logo and label, and encouraging designers to share their creations using the hashtag #cokexadobexyou. Coca-Cola said it will donate up to $30,000 to the Special Olympics for every submission it receives by Dec. 31.

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