Stripping Away the Labels…Literally

You are sitting in a room. The lights are off and you are surrounded by complete strangers.

Sounds like the beginning of a zombie horror film right? This is where I tell you that no, you are in fact wrong. This is no horror film at all. This, my friends, is a recent commercial that the ubiquitous Coca-Cola brand released as a part of their Ramadan campaign.

Without giving away too many spoilers for this 2:50 long video, the video begins with a group of very diverse-looking men meeting in a pitch dark room and subsequently attempting to guess each other’s personality and appearance. What happened when the lights came on? Well, you’ll just have to watch the video for yourselves.  

This Ramadan season, rather than designing a star and crescent symbol on their cans, the Atlanta-based company decided to draw more attention to the worldwide prejudice that exists. The concept is simple. Remove the “Coca-Cola” label from the cans; In place of the logo, the words “Labels are for cans not for people.”

I must admit, this is a rather brilliant move from the marketing team over at Coca-Cola and illustrates an exciting trend of big corporations taking the challenge to combat prejudice. The name of the campaign, “Remove labels this Ramadan,” follows Coke’s “Let’s take an extra second” campaign. Both campaigns call upon people all over the world to really get to know a person beyond first impressions.

Now, drinking from a can of soda that reads “Labels are for cans not for people” does not necessarily mean everyone will start to think differently about judging a person by their appearance, but it’s a step in the right direction. The more awareness that can be raised by large companies like Coca-Cola, the more people may start to pay attention to the unnecessary labels we give people upon seeing them for the first time.

The campaign is quite clever if you really think about it. On top of the fact that the individual drinking or buying the soda will inevitably become aware of the missing label, what’s the one thing that every random passerby notices/searches for on a can of soda being sipped? That’s right, the label. It’s like our brains are programmed to scan for anything familiar when it comes to common commodities. *scanning…scanning…red can…white cursi – OH, Coca-Cola!* Seriously, rather than adding the text to the logo, Coca-Cola’s genius decision to remove the logo entirely forces people to notice the replaced text.

I believe that Coca-Cola's heart is in the right place and that this campaign has significant potential to affect change and make a difference in the lives of just about everyone. Well done, Coke. Well done.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at 



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