Five creative examples of using Happiness to market brands.

charity_donation_use_happiness to market brands- Pharrell Williams' 24 hours of happy campaign- turn a song into an experience

Pharrell Williams’ 24 hours of happy campaign


In the past few years, many brands have used emotional engagement to humanize brands. Emotions such as happiness is contagious and could positively connect people with brands if it is done right.

Here are five examples:

Coca-Cola Happiness Campaigns

When talking about using happiness to connect with people, the first campaign came into my mind was the famous Coca-Cola Happiness Machine in 2010: people got a free coke after hugging Coca-Cola vending machines. Throughout the years, the brand expanded the experience all around the world with the same concept targeting to various audiences. The execution was really simple, but the concept was gold: Coca-Cola makes people happy! The brand had successfully moved away from hard selling products.  Instead, it strongly connected emotions with the brand image. It has achieved an impressive level of engagement via viral video sharing: currently 6,438,272 views on YouTube.

Coca-Cola: Happiness Machine (Example)

Here is another example of Coca-Cola Happiness campaignCoca-Cola rolled out a coke bottle shaped piece of grass in the middle of Amsterdam. It simply encouraged people to enjoy the moment: be happy! The video currently has 466,282 YouTube views. It is a great example of bringing the brand to the people.

Coca-Cola Creates Park: Roll Out Happiness

With Coca-Cola Hello Happiness campaign, it pushed the concept even further: UAE migrant workers could use Coca-Cola bottle caps to make a phone call home. Those workers got paid around $6 a day. They couldn’t even afford to call home often. Coca-Cola really understood the problem and created the Hello Happiness Phone Booth. It used Coca-Cola bottle caps as currency for a free 3-minute international phone call. The campaign speaks for itself: the true happiness is helping people to connect with their loved ones. The video currently has 2,864,188 YouTube views.

Coca-Cola: Hello Happiness

It was successful because:

  1. It connected people with strong emotions.
  2. It showed the human side of the brand.
  3. It tried to solve real problems.
  4. It added real value to people’s life.
  5. It is a well-thought-out campaign from concept to execution.
  6. It enhanced brand image.

24 hours of happy campaign

Happiness can also spread online. Pharrell Williams24 hours of happy campaign has turned a song into an online interactive experience. From ideation to execution, it seamlessly created engaging and shareable moments, with 200 million views. A successful campaign was also scalable: roughly 1500 homemade versions of music videos in 130 countries. Evermore, United Nations Foundation joined to create 24hoursofhappiness website to raise humanitarian issues.

Pharrell Williams: 24 Hours Of Happy
It was successful because:

  1. Happiness is contagious. Everyone can relate to the feeling.
  2. It found an innovative way of marketing a song.
  3. It turned a song into an experience.
  4. It scaled globally


Gamification is a great way to engage with people: play a game and make it fun!
KPT in Switzerland created Smileball to demonstrate that they had the happiest health insurance clients. The Smileball was a pinball machine that controlled by people’s smiles. The campaign encouraged people to smile, to play and to win a prize. The video currently has 112,856 YouTube views.

The concept was really simple: make people happy and connect the happiness to the brand image. The execution blended new technology like face recognition into an old pinball game. The game itself was not too difficult to play, but still had certain challenge. The result brought smiles to both participants and watchers. The brand logo was not very obvious in the video. Even I liked the game, it was hard for me to remember the brand (Maybe I missed some info because the case study was not in English). Maybe the low key marketing technique works the more sophisticated European crowd.

KPT: Smileball  - pinball machine controlled by smiles

The campaign was successful at:

  1. It used gamification to engage people: fun to play and fun to watch the game. 
  2. It added new technology to an old game: familiar game, but with a twist.
  3. It used positive emotion to connect people.

What could be improved:

  1. The physical game should be connected more with social media strategies. Or the case study video could explain it.
  2. Making people smile is a good positive activity. However, it does not necessarily reflect the specific product: health insurance.

Do you think those campaign works? Do you associate happiness with any brands?


Coming soon: Examples of using Shock to market brands

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