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A Coca-Cola Valentine Video & Why It Pays To Keep Clients Informed

February 22, 2016

A few weeks ago, I completed one of my biggest assignments ever: a Valentine video for Coca-Cola Journey, which serves as the company’s brand newsroom and social media hub. It was posted on the Journey site, and also uploaded to the company’s YouTube Channel. Here it is:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

I created the video on Kizoa, an online platform for creating slideshows and videos. I’m a subscriber. My Pro membership allows me to create videos in full HD (high-definition), and download them onto my computer in MP4 format.BlankVertSpace.4pixels

The video consists of 82 separate slides (images). I uploaded them to Kizoa as a group, and put them in a photo album. Then I dragged and dropped them into position on a filmstrip.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

I can adjust the display interval for each individual slide; i.e., how long that particular slide is visible “on screen.” The final slide in the video displays for a full 5 seconds. Some of the slides in the action sequences (e.g., the cliff dive) only display for 0.2 seconds.BlankVertSpace.4pixels

Being a subscriber also gives me access to all the tracks in Kizoa’s music library, most of which are royalty-free for both personal and commercial use. That’s a very important point, since it means that neither I nor my clients have to worry about copyright issues,
or paying music royalties.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

The rest was pure experimentation: adjusting the timing, deciding what music to use for the different sequences, etc. I lost track of all my trial runs. Suffice it to say, a video isn’t something you get right on your first try– not in my case, anyway… 😕BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.8pixels

Coca-Cola wants its products to look as accurate as possible, so I extract what I need from photos. I use filters and color adjustments to enhance the images. Once I’ve extracted an item, I can paste it onto any background.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Coca-Cola bottle extraction sequence brighten select extract on transparent background so can paste onto any imageblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

Here’s the before and after for the Coke can top.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Coca-Cola can top extraction sequence brighten boost color extract onto transparent background so can paste onto any imageblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

The Coke pencil required a good deal of brightening and color enhancement. Then I rotated it and added the pencil tip on two separate layers.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Coca-Cola can extract and build pencil sequence brighten boost color extract onto transparent background add pencil point by pasting in separate layersblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

The best bit of digital magic (in my humble opinion) was virtually invisible. It occurs in a single slide: the one where the Coke bottle pivots 90 degrees to the right, before walking off stage.BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.6pixels

In actual fact, the bottle doesn’t rotate at all. To create the illusion, I switched from two feet facing front, to a single foot facing left– that was easy enough. But the “Coca-Cola” text on the bottle had to appear to rotate, too. Why was that a challenge?BlankVertSpace.4pixels

Because the text and the bottle were part of a single image. If I selected the text and removed it– cut it out of the bottle, so to speak– I’d leave a physical hole in the green glass. I needed to lift off the “Coca-Cola” so I could rotate it, while somehow creating green glass where the text used to be.BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.6pixels

Here’s the basic sequence. I selected the “Cola” (below, highlighted in black for visibility), copied it, and saved it on a separate layer. (I didn’t need the “Coca,” because that part of the text would be invisible after the rotation.)BlankVertSpace.4pixels

Then I used Pixelmator’s rather remarkable Repair tool to select what I wanted to get rid of. The Repair tool replaces the selection by cloning the pixels in the immediate vicinity. Below, the third bottle from the left shows the result after I used the Repair tool to select the top half of the “Coca-Cola.” After selecting the bottom half, I got the result shown in the fourth bottle. Digital magic indeed.BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.8pixels

The rest was easy: paste in my saved “Cola” which now resided on a separate layer, position it just off the left side of the bottle, then compress and distort it slightly until it looked right.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Rotate text on Coca-Cola bottle select save type use repair tool to erase type paste and distort saved text to simulate rotated appearanceBlankVertSpace.8pixelsblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

Which brings me to the second half of the post title: Why It Pays To Keep Clients Informed.BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

It’s important for me to say this first: keeping clients informed isn’t just a nice thing to do. It’s a must-do. It’s a professional obligation. To surprise a client with finished work that doesn’t match their expectations is to invite disaster. Not only have you wasted time and effort, you’ve hurt your reputation.

You also keep clients informed because you need their feedback. Sometimes feedback makes all the difference. That’s exactly what happened here.BlankVertSpace.2pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

Jay Moye is the editor of Coca-Cola Journey. He gave me the assignment. I was on a tight deadline and sent Jay a status report every day.

I sent Jay snapshots showing the proposed color scheme for two of the video backdrops. Here’s what they looked like:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
desert backdrop scene flat colors green cacti yellow sand light purple mountains orange sky yellow sun
mountain scene backdrop blue purple peaks light blue skyblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

Jay sent back a single sentence reply, as follows:BlankVertSpace.6pixels

Mark – I think these look nice but whenever possible, let’s really play up the Coke red (especially given the Valentine’s focus).BlankVertSpace.6pixels

That one sentence determined the entire look of the video. I read it and had an immediate revelation: We were doing a video about a Coke bottle that comes to life and embarks on a journey. The idea was fantastic, surreal– why shouldn’t the landscape look the same way?? I saw the whole thing in an instant, and immediately revised the desert color scheme.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
desert backdrop scene convert to Valentine's Day colors pink cacti and sand Coca-Cola red skyblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

And as soon as I saw that flat Coke Red sky, I could see the familiar Coke can white stripe appearing across it– and I had a great running gag.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
desert backdrop scene convert to Valentine's Day colors pink cacti and sand Coca-Cola red sky with white Coca-Cola can stripeblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

I sent Jay the revised snapshots and he came back with: I like!BlankVertSpace.8pixels

One other point worth noting: it pays to be proactive. The video was my own idea. I pitched the idea to Jay by sending him a B&W rough cut.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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Do you use video as part of your social media strategy?

Have you ever found a bottle with a message in it?

Have you ever seen a pink cactus? How about a pink elephant??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Did The Animals Really Talk On Christmas Eve? No, They Jammed!
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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact informationblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Margie permalink
    February 22, 2016 10:00 AM

    As your header says, Mark – dam good work!


    • February 23, 2016 5:28 PM

      Thanks, Margie! I was busy as a beaver there for awhile. I just kept putting one stick on top of another until it finally came together! Now if I could just get these splinters outta my teeth… : )


  2. OyiaBrown permalink
    February 22, 2016 11:54 AM

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.


  3. February 24, 2016 3:01 PM

    Fizzy drinks and wondrous, talented artwork? Pop! goes the easel! 😀

    I loved the goat’s WTF (What The Flacon) expression. Yes, the white stripe plus the iconic bottle shape made it an easy guess. All the many details make it a rare and well done promo. Of course, the same cannot be said of a grilled-steak! 😉

    Great post as always, mon ami!


    • February 24, 2016 9:43 PM

      Flacon?? The last time I got my flacon, I had to use a medicated dandruff shampoo with 10% coal tar instead of the usual 3%!! No wonder I keep a snow shovel in the bathroom… 😢🚿🛁🔬💉🔧🔪🚽

      I asked the bartender down at the Ganges Club if he knew what a flacon was. He said it’s a flask drive that comes in handy on long hikes. Or short ones. Or sitting in a club chair… 😊🍸🍹🍸🍹🍼💣💥😱

      My dear Radhika! I learn so much from your comments. I thank you, and my little gray cells thank you– especially the few that are still functioning… 😊

      At one point I decided to use 4 different goats during the mountain sequence. I did some research, and actually drew them up. But, of course, sequentially, it made no sense at all, so the other three got the old heave-ho, as opposed to the old hee-haw. As we say down at the GC: Too many goats spoil the cheese… 🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐🍞🚽

      I thought about including an Indian Filter Coffee vending machine in the desert scene– just for you– but that would be taking an inside joke a little too far– as Holmes wisely decided when he thought about hiding the Hound of the Baskervilles under Watson’s bed… 🐶🔍😱

      Pop! goes the easel made me guffaw, as did the grilled steak that tried to be in two parallel universes at the same time. Your comedic sensibility is rare, and your comments are always cooked to perfection– merci, mom amie! And tell your Soul to save the last dance and some goat cheese for me… 😋

      Liked by 1 person

  4. soul . to . earth permalink
    February 25, 2016 9:43 AM

    Hmmm…..looks like Watson was the original creator of Who let the dogs out?!!! 😋🐶

    Msg. below is from Soul (of to Earth fame):

    I goat your request for cheese ‘n dance. Let there be Saganaki & Salsa! OPA, I say! I’ve doused the Chèvre & foxtrot in favour of Greek & Latin flames coz baby, you’re a firework! 💥
    Verily, I say unto thee, oh children of divine glee,
    you’ll take the cake in being such funny flakes!
    😊 😀

    As always, it’s your comment/s that inspires me so! 🙂


    • February 25, 2016 2:19 PM

      Poor Watson! He was the victim of many a gag– like that time Holmes gave him a turban for his birthday, and it turned out to be The Speckled Band. Well, for goodness snakes… 👳🐍🔫😱

      Saganaki and salsa, served in a flamin’ saganaki and topped with charred coconut flakes– aw right!! If that doesn’t make us danse La Chèvre in 9/8 time and laugh with divine glee, I don’t know what would!! Cue the flames, I’m looking forward to it already!! 🐐🔥🍳👣💃🚶🏻🎸🎷🎻🎺💥💥💥

      Merci chère âme pour toucher le sol de l’éther! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. March 1, 2016 11:23 AM

    Explicame Mark, no entiendo sabes que vivo al otro lado del continente no comprendo su cultura… gracias

    Haber diferentes envases de la bebida prodigiosa humm no se puede se– ¡no, Mark!

    Mark, explain to me– I live across the continent and do not understand the culture… thanks

    Having such colossal beverage containers can not be– no, Mark!


    • March 5, 2016 11:54 AM

      Hi, Nel! You originally left two comments. I took the liberty of putting them together, and translating them as best I could– I hope you don’t mind! : )

      I know you live in beautiful Colombia, South America, and yes, that’s a big continent jump from where I live in New Hampshire, USA, North America! : )

      I must agree– colossal beverage containers do not exist in real life! (except, perhaps, on billboards, or as giant floats in parades, or novelty hot air balloons!!)

      My video is a happy fantasy, designed to make people smile. In this case, it’s also being used to promote “brand awareness” and goodwill; meaning: to publicize the “Coca-Cola” brand, and to associate the Coke brand with happiness and good humor. Hopefully, it will also engage people, and move them to share the video with their friends. That’s really what content marketing is all about.

      Always nice to hear from you, and many thanks for your comments!

      ¡Hola, Nel! Originalmente dejó dos comentarios. Me tomé la libertad de ponerlos juntos, y su traducción a lo mejor que could– ¡espero que no te importe! : )

      Sé que vive en el bello Colombia, América del Sur, y sí, ¡eso es un gran salto continente de donde vivo en New Hampshire, EE.UU., América del Norte! 🙂

      Estoy de acuerdo– ¡no existen envases de bebidas colosales en la vida real! (¡¡excepto, quizás, en vallas publicitarias, o como flotadores gigantes en desfiles, o globos de aire caliente de la novedad!!)

      Mi video es una fantasía feliz, diseñado para hacer sonreír a la gente. En este caso, también se está utilizando para promover “conocimiento de marca” y la buena voluntad; es decir: dar a conocer la marca “Coca-Cola”, y para asociar la marca Coca-Cola con la felicidad y buen humor. Con suerte, sino que también involucrar a la gente, y moverlos a compartir el video con sus amigos. Eso es realmente lo que el marketing de contenidos se trata.

      ¡Siempre es bueno saber de usted, y muchas gracias por sus comentarios!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. March 1, 2016 1:31 PM

    It’s crazy, isn’t it?


  7. radwebho permalink
    March 12, 2016 1:45 PM

    Mark, I just found your blog today and I must say you are equally gifted in writing as you are with your illustrations! Thanks for sharing.


    • March 14, 2016 2:17 PM

      You’re so welcome, and thanks so much for your kind and uplifting words– much appreciated, nice to meet you!


  8. May 30, 2016 2:27 PM

    Yes, they are extremely fortunate at Coca-Cola! I just hope they know how much!
    I bow before your talent, my friend! 🙂 🙄👏🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 1, 2016 9:01 AM

      I was going to have the bottle wash up on the shores of Mt. Olympus, but I was afraid most mortals wouldn’t understand the connection… 😊

      Thank you, Dearest Marina!! And now I’m off to the Ambrosia Café, where I will drink several toasts in your honor!! 🍨🍨🍹🍹🍹🍹…………. 🚕💨💨💨

      Liked by 1 person


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