Earlier this week, the skies of Singapore were filled with red boxes of happiness as remote-controlled #CokeDrones delivered cans of Coca-Cola to migrant workers toiling on several high-rise buildings in the city.
Coca-Cola Singapore clearly took a page from the success of Amazon’s publicity stunt executed in December last year, except that the former turned it into a reality, even engaging with viewers with a subtle, heartwarming message. The giant beverage company partnered with the Singapore Kindness Movement (and Ogilvy) for the campaign.
“At Coca-Cola, we are in the business of sharing happiness all around the world. By using technology in an innovative way, as a service to happiness, we were able to bring together two segments of the community who rarely interact,” said Leonardo O’Grady, ASEAN Director of Integrated Marketing Communications, Coca-Cola.
“We also worked alongside the Singapore Kindness Movement, and fulfilled a shared vision of providing the local man-on-the-street with an opportunity to show their appreciation for these guest workers work so hard and far away from home to contribute to the success of Singapore.”
As part of the project, also known as “Happiness from the Skies”, messages of gratitude were collected from Singaporeans. 2,734 messages of gratitude were eventually delivered to the foreign workers, or what Coca-Cola called the “invisible workers”, in the form of photos tied onto the cans.
The #CokeDrones video has generated close to 21,000 views with 553 ‘likes’ and 10 ‘dislikes’. Netizens are generally receptive of the idea although a few question how the message of appreciation may have been masked over by the use of drones. This minority seems to suggest technology has stole the limelight away from kindness this time round.
Personally, I am guessing some of the comments were made by Internet trolls (not all; some). I think it is a good campaign which harnesses technology. The message was clear: It is about appreciating the very people who built our buildings from ground up under the sweltering heat.
I do not think the #CokeDrones overpowered the kindness message either. If you look at it mathematically, more than half of the video were about the workers – their stories and works-in-action. The product placements are reasonable here as I am pretty sure the Singapore Kindness Movement need not pay a cent for the refreshments.
By the way, from the video, I could hear how noisy the drones were. It was like listening to bees on loudspeakers! The drones looked quite flimsy too. It is no wonder that the Federal Aviation Administration wanted to ban on such commercial aerial vehicles so much.
“As a Movement, we are always looking to support and encourage ground-up kindness initiatives that look to do good in our local communities. With more individuals, and businesses, coming forward to become champions of kindness, we move steadily towards our vision of becoming a kinder and more gracious society,” said Michelle Tay, Associate General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement.
Nonetheless, although #CokeDrones was an amazing kindness feat, I hope that Singaporeans do not get the impression (or even be pressured) that acts of kindness have transformed, coupled with higher expectations. No, you do not need drones to make a difference in people’s lives; by all means, go back to the basics and share a smile and a thank-you to someone.
As Michelle rightly puts it: “Happiness can spring from even the smallest acts of kindness. It’s really amazing how much good we can achieve with something as simple as a thoughtful gesture and a word of thanks.”