How do you describe a sip of Coke?

The brand asked its fans to submit video clips with their answers, and it received 400 submissions – then choosing the 40 best to make This is AHH.

Coke gave its supporters an opportunity to step out of the ordinary. Time and time again, the brand makes heroes of its fans.

The Hero’s Journey

Joseph Campbell wrote about the Monomyth – a universal storytelling structure derived from myths and fables around the world – in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

He found that most stories bring a person out of the ordinary and into the unknown. There, the person overcomes a series of trials and returns to everyday life a hero.

Great ads use this structure to cast the customer as the hero. Coke happens to be very good at this. Let’s look at some structural and content-driven examples below.


Who wants to lead a completely conventional life? A level of comfort and security is nice, but most people want to live memorably. We want to leave behind more than a trail of selfies and hashtags. Coke helps its fans do that.

The first step a hero takes is away from the ordinary world. Typically, the hero-to-be meets a mentor who hints at a world of possibility and the supernatural.

In Coke’s ads, the brand itself is not the hero – it’s the mentor.


Once the hero-to-be has stepped into the unknown, she overcomes challenges and obstacles.

Everybody in ‘This is AHH’ did something extraordinary to describe the taste of Coke. One person dressed up as a unicorn. Another literally ran out of his clothes and into the ocean. Another luged down a hill.

Coke also works to provide additional heroic experiences for fans, including games, puzzles, and riddles. The Coke Recycling Game educates people about recycling and makes them agents in a happier world. A series of riddles on its Facebook page led fans to bubbles in the sky, beach bonfires, and other joyful moments.

The Cave

These obstacles prepare the hero-to-be for the real work: confronting evil in the heart of what Cambell calls the “inmost cavern.” To Coke, this means issues that divide people.

Its messages call fans to be heroic and overcome barriers that keep them from being happy. Coca-Cola Border, the 2011 Super Bowl spot, features two guards pacing a border. Coke helps them cross the imaginary line. It’s Beautiful, the bold Super Bowl spot from 2014, features “America the Beautiful” sung in 8 languages.

And earlier this month, Coke delivered care packages to two thousand migrant workers in Singapore via drones. In this way, the brand demonstrates that it doesn’t have to run a competition to make the customer,-heroes. It can celebrate heroism all around.


The hero has passed through challenges and obstacles and has emerged victorious from the inmost cavern. Now she’s back to the ordinary world. But the journey is not over. She has insight to share and a story to tell. For Coke, this means happy people and brand referrals.

Now more than ever, people and brands are powerful. A brand can’t tell people what to think or feel, but it can create experiences for them. It can help them express the part of themselves that draws them to the brand in the first place. It can bring people together in ways they wouldn’t imagine if it weren’t for the mentor’s call.

How can you make your fans heroes?