Co.Design

Coke’s Social Can Splits Into Two Before Your Eyes

A clever package turns sugar water into a way to connect people.

I don’t remember the last time I cracked open a full calorie Coca-Cola and guzzled it down with glee. By the end of the can, it honestly makes my mouth too sticky-sweet. And all I can think about is how many words I’ll need to type to burn off the high-fructose corn syrup.

Now, a new can--created in a collaboration between Ogilvy & Mather’s Singapore and French offices--addresses the guilt of a solo soda binge head-on. Its design looks like a normal can of Coke, until you hand one end to a friend, twist, and magically have two cans of Coke.

It’s clever packaging, backed by even cleverer marketing. Because if you were to encounter this can in a room with nothing else in it, you might assume it’s fancily packed soda for one, an adorable, environmental nightmare that packs less product into more packaging. But backed by the right ad campaign--which, admittedly, good design shouldn’t need--the design’s entire identity shifts. Now I’d walk into that empty room, open the can, and wonder who I was going to split this soda with.

Contextualized by a single ad, the packaging design is no longer (so) wasteful because it’s encouraging less consumption in favor of a friendly, interpersonal experience. Ideally, the consumer could drink one-half of a can and garner the same amount of fulfillment, which is the precise opposite approach the industry has taken with Big Gulps and those two-serving plastic pints they sell at gas stations. (In other words, Coke is choosing the evil of environmental waste over the evil of obesity.)

For better or worse, these cans aren’t available beyond a “happiness truck” promotion in Singapore.

[Hat tip: Co.Create]

Correction: An earlier version of this story cited the two cans as a "can and a cup."

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