Click Play: 

When is breaking a brand law acceptable? It helps when that brand is Coca-Cola, which comes with a free get-out-of-branding-jail card. 

Led by Ogilvy New York, the latest campaign for Coca-Cola breaks all the rules we apply to logos and brand consistency. To encourage recycling its cans, the campaign shows the logo twisted, distorted, and manipulated in ways that go against every existing brand standard. 

Credit: Ogilvy. 

There’s even a video showcasing a can getting demolished by unseen forces. Science! 

One can only imagine the cathartic experience it was for an art director to ignore all established logo design and usage rules and get real freaky deeky on an iconic logo. Copywriters commonly ignore basic grammar rules for better creative output…but distorting a logo? That’s a rarity. 

What can smaller brands learn from this? And if we’re classifying “smaller” as compared to Coke…that’s pretty much all of you. 

First, Coke can get away with this because it has done a great job over 100+ years of building an iconic brand. Consumers know what the brand stands for and its values. 

So, while they are manipulating a major piece of branding (the logo), there are elements that they didn’t mess with. The classic white on red is still there, along with a CTA in the established font and their iconic can in the video. It’s still very much in the Coca-Cola brand, albeit with a twisted logo…but you probably still recognize it. 

So no, your brand isn’t ready to disregard the brand standards that we hold sacred. If you haven’t spent the time, money, and brand marketing energy to firmly establish your brand in consumers’ eyes, brains, ears, and more, you must first do that. Ensure you have the basics —verbal, visual, and values—all documented and trained in your team. 

Only when you have that brand equity established can we think about breaking the rules. And it’s worth dedicating the time, energy, and money to building your own iconic brand. After all, who doesn’t love breaking a rule occasionally?