Coca-Cola's new AI 'experience' could prove controversial

(Image credit: The Coca-Cola Company)

AI has proven a hugely contentious topic in the art and design world since text-to-image generators began to rise in popularity last year. From concerns surrounding ethics to copyright disputes, controversy has followed the tech from the beginning – not that you'd know it from Coca-Cola's latest campaign.

As part of its "Coca-Cola Creations" series, the brand has revealed a flavour from the "future", titled Y3000 Zero Sugar. Inviting fans to "imagine what the future tastes like," the new flavour is accompanied by an AI-powered experience based on Stable Diffusion

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The new limited edition flavour has been given its own entire visual identity. "Co-created with artificial intelligence," Coca-Cola announces, "the design showcases liquid in a morphing, evolving state, communicated through form and colour changes that emphasise a positive future. A light-toned colour palette featuring violet, magenta and cyan against a silver base gives a futuristic feel."

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But perhaps the most notable aspect of the campaign is the accompanying mobile experience. Users can filter photos through the "custom Y3000 AI Cam" to envision what their current reality could look like in the future. Which basically means whatever image the user uploads is given a vaporwave-esque coat of paint. 

Coca-Cola AI art

Part of the AI-generated visual identity (Image credit: The Coca-Cola Company)

"After leaning into Augmented Reality last year, we’re embracing the power of AI and continuing to build our company’s capabilities in this exciting space. Coca‑Cola Creations has created new pathways to deepen our engagement with existing fans and those who may not have considered the brand before," shares Oana Vlad, Senior Director, Global Strategy, The Coca‑Cola Company.

While the image generator is hardly the most technically impressive application of AI we've seen, and the whole thing is apparently a bit of fun, it's notable that one of the largest and most ubiquitous brands on the planet is so openly embracing AI in its branding. With even the likes of Adobe facing backlash in recent weeks, we wouldn't be surprised to see Coca-Cola's brazen celebration of AI image generation drawing the ire of designers and artists.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).