A score of companies – sponsors and otherwise – are known to pounce on the hype preceding playoffs or tournaments, for any number of reasons: they’re eager to seem festive, to demonstrate the efficacy of a product (think sports drinks or sponsored active wear), or to appeal to fans and drive brand image. The World Cup is no different, and because it only comes around once every four years, the opportunities it presents fans and brands alike are all that more precious. Coca Cola knows this, and with the tournament beginning later this week, we think a brief retrospective of their World Cup packaging design is in order.
The earliest and least evolved example included here, the 2002 Coca-Cola World Cup packaging design seemed to avoid making any bold decisions. The players share an equal, neutralizing spotlight with the Coca-Cola logo, while the introduction of wheat/gold accents makes an unremarkable pairing with Coca-Cola’s trademark red. From this point, Coca-Cola could only go up, and did.
The chief difference in the 2006 packaging design was the increase in real estate given to the soccer stars – making them distinctly the focal point of the design, rather than splitting the spotlight between the World Cup and Coca-Cola. While it would pain any brand to significantly reduce the presence of its logo, the reward for this potential risk is increasing its ceremonial / PR value. Paradoxically, by taking attention away from the brand within the physical packaging design, Coca-Cola may have attracted even more attention to itself through a counterintuitive, risky, and surprising maneuver.
Coca-Cola’s logo returned to a more prominent position in its 2010 World Cup packaging; however, the brand continued to venture into new territory through the use of color. Whereas the previous two World Cups only inspired marginal color variation from Coca-Cola’s red and white, the 2010 bottle incorporated, most noticeably, a healthy dose of bold, soccer-field green.
This year’s Coca-Cola World Cup packaging design beautifully balances both ornamentation with simplicity and the identity of Coca Cola with that of the World Cup. In terms of design, it utilizes the uncharacteristic abundance of color that made 2010 stand out, while keeping each color thoroughly separated and solid, making the design less busy, and consequently more bold.