Creative Director’s Choice: Jesse Post from BrandBase on Coca-Cola’s summer recycling campaign

Coca-Cola's summer recycling campaign in Europe

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the work they think is the best out in the ad world — the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Jesse Post, creative director at BrandBase, talks about Coca-Cola’s out-of-home efforts to get people to recycle during the summer.

Summer is here (and winding down). Chill beach days, cross-country road trips, barbecues with friends. Putting on our shades, enjoying an ice-cold Coke and ignoring the things that are a waste of time. Sounds familiar, right?

To me it does. And while every summer has a story, this one is quite different. During this summer, the amount of plastic waste could go up by 40% – and a lot of it will end up in the sea. The Mediterranean – where most Europeans spend their holidays, including myself — has one of the highest levels of plastic pollution in the world. It contains only 1% of the world’s water but it houses 7% of the world’s microplastics, according to a 2018 WWF report.

The Coca-Cola Company is campaigning for us “not to waste” this summer. The drinks giant focused its biggest campaign of the year entirely on recycling and sustainability. And in my home country the Netherlands, Coca-Cola has taken it a step further: "Don’t buy Coca-Cola if you’re not going to help us recycle." Not a classic marketing campaign, but a clear commitment to recycling.

I find this direction quite surprising. They are trying to use their brand to inspire us, rather than defaulting to their branded-lifestyle commercials. I find it a bold statement, something different. I think they see now is the time to show some responsibility and invite their customers to do so as well. This is something I feel a lot more brands should do in order to grow their credibility and remain relevant. Stop claiming and start proving.

Will this campaign change people’s bad habits of leaving their empty packaging on the street? Probably not. But I think that’s not the aim of the campaign. I find it a smart way to position Coca-Cola as a sustainable and responsible brand. While it’s definitely a move in the right direction, we still have a long way to go. In the meantime… let’s not waste our summer.

Jesse Post is the creative director at Amsterdam-based BrandBase, a full-service creative production company.

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To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

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