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We <3 Australia’s Limited Edition Coca-Cola to Support Marriage Equality

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 09/28/2017 | 4 Minute Read

Love Coca-Cola? Now you’ve got even more of a reason. Responding to Australia’s postal survey on marriage equality, Coca-Cola Australia has launched a limited edition can that features the iconic Spencerian script with the word “love.” The design is complete with two hearts, one of which is filled with a symbol of the LGBTQ community, a rainbow.

The company proudly announced in a statement, “No matter who you are or who you love, all couples should be treated equally.”

“The word ‘love’ is reflective of our core values. If ever we were to experiment with Spenserian script, this is the time to do it,” said James Sommerville, Coca-Cola VP of global design, who helped conceptualize these cans.

In a time where it feels like we turn on the news and witness stories of hatred and fear, this is a refreshing and positive one to hear.

A Love Story

“The way the characters flow it seems to have a loving flavor to it—a loving construct—because it has almost been written by hand, like a love story," Sommerville explains. Upon closer inspection, consumers will see the hearts and rainbow, a delightful surprise that celebrates Pride and love as a whole.

In their press release, Coca-Cola added, “Though historic in method, this is by no means Coca-Cola’s first statement in support of love. Coca-Cola’s Kings Cross sign in Australia has previously sported the rainbow flag. Coca-Cola advertisements have not only been LGBTQ inclusive, but LGBTQ celebratory. The company has been a vocal Pride-sponsor, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation consistently praises the company’s LGBTQ workplace equality practices.”

In conjunction with the release of the cans, the company celebrated its commitment to inclusion with this statement: “Coca-Cola believes in the power of bringing people together. Whether it was the struggle for human rights in the United States in the 1960’s to a group of young people from many nations on a hilltop in Italy in 1971, around the world we’ve always stood up for diversity, inclusion and equality.”

Jacqui O’Donnell, Coca-Cola South Pacific’s marketing manager, further explains, “Equality and diversity are hugely important to who we are as a brand and as a company. The idea was a very simple, but powerful and locally relevant way to support everyone who drinks, distributes and sells our brand.”

In Sommerville’s opinion, it gives even more depth to the meaning “classic,” a word which appears just below the upper rim of the can. He mentioned, “We’ve been writing classic love stories since 1886 and this just adds another chapter to that heritage of great storytelling,” he says. “Being asked by the Australian Business Unit to collaborate with them in this design project is reflective of a new way of working.”

A Business Innovation Story

Once Australia’s postal survey had been officially announced, Sommerville and his colleague Rapha Abreu, Global Visual Identity Design Director, began designing the special cans. In only a matter of two days, the design was crafted and approved; then, just nine days later, Australians were drinking some serious Coca-Cola Love.

“These cans are a great example of what we can do with speed in two different markets and end on something magical,” Sommerville said. Because this was a collaboration between Coca-Cola Australia, the Atlanta-based Global Design, Brand and Legal Team, it was a true labor of love across continents and time zones. “This way of working represents a new era and new, iterative design methodology for the organization, yet on our most prestigious pack.”

This isn't the first time that Australia's team wasn't afraid to explore new ideas and think progressively—the concept of Share a Coke, which enables consumers to customize their Coca-Cola packaging with their own names, originated there as well. But for that design, the team developed a script inspired by the classic Spencerian font to preserve the brand's 130+ year history. This makes the Coca-Cola Love cans even more special. "For this story of love," he stated, "the signature script was worth bending for the first time.”

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