Finally, a good use of AI? Coca-Cola's new ad is a branding masterpiece

Coca-cola ad; The Scream painting holds a bottle of Coca-Cola
(Image credit: Coca-Cola)

For decades we've thought that The Scream by Edvard Munch is a representation of existential angst, anxiety and alienation when all along the artist just wanted a bottle of Coca-Cola. The new ad, called Masterpiece, takes us on a tour of some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures, and it's brilliant. It's also made, partly, using AI.

This new ad comes a year after the brand dropped the ball with its Coca-Cola Dreams campaign and rival Pepsi trolled the soft drink in its own ad, Better With Pepsi. But the Coca-Cola's new Masterpiece commercial (watch it below) is the real thing.

Masterpiece follows the journey of a Coca-Cola bottle from one iconic painting to the next as it makes its way to a thirsty student in need of inspiration. The VFX team at Electric Theatre Collective and creative agency Blitzworks used a mix of live action shots, digital effects and AI to create the commercial and its complex transitions. So, have we finally found a good use of AI?

Coca-Cola's new add is a who's who of the world's greatest artists and artworks, including Utagawa Hiroshige’s Drum Bridge And Setting Sun, J.M.W Turner’s The Shipwreck and Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arle. Contemporary artists get in on the journey too, with French painter Aket’s Divine Idyll features alongside works by Vikram Kushwah, Stefania Tejada and Fatma Ramadan.

While some may deride a soft drinks brand using famous works of art to promote its brand, and there is something uneasy about seeing Girl With A Pearl Earring crack open a bottle of Coca-Cola (I've always thought she was a Pepsi drinker), I still love this new commercial.

The ad opens with a wink to Andy Warhol's commentary on mass consumerism as a hand from Aket’s Divine Idyll reaches out from its canvas to grab the bottle of Coca-Cola from the Warhol silkscreen A Coke is a Coke, as it does so it transforms in style to match Aket's bold graffiti style. (Read our feature on ways street art is influencing artists for more details.)

The beauty of this new Coca-Cola ad is how with each artwork passing on the drink's bottle it transforms to match the style of the artist it passes from, including a moment when the character from Wonderbuhle's You Can’t Curse Me grabs the bottle and drops into the bed from Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arle – changing visual language and tone.

Coca-Cola ad; the Drum Bridge with a Coca-Cola bottle

A large bottle of Coca-Cola drops into Utagawa Hiroshige’s masterpiece, Drum Bridge And Setting Sun (Image credit: Coca-Cola)

Coca-Cola has curated the art used in the advert, as well as interviews with the featured contemporary artists at its Masterpiece Gallery website. South African artist Wonderbuhle said the first thing that springs to mind when he thinks about Coca-Cola is "joy and coolness".

The Coca-Cola Masterpiece campaign won't be restricted to the two-minute commercial but will also include 3D billboards and digital collectibles. As a way to celebrate art this is campaign is great, but as a way to introduce the world to new contemporary artists Masterpiece is fantastic. 

If you're inspired by the work of contemporary artists like Wonderbuhle, Arket, Stefania Tejada and Fatma Ramadan then take a look at our guides to the best coloured pencils, the best watercolour paints and the best art easels and get painting.

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & Design

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.