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Bringing people together, against the odds

In March 2013, Coca-Cola set out to break down barriers and create a simple moment of connection between two nations — India and Pakistan. The initiative “Small World Machines” provided a live communications portal between people in India and Pakistan and showed that what unites us is stronger than what sets us apart. The key to engaging with each other through the machines was simple: people in India and Pakistan could complete a task, like touching hands, drawing peace, love, and happiness symbols — together.

For over 60 years, India and Pakistan have been separated by more than just a border. Despite the people’s desire for positive change, a lack of communication, along with three wars, unstable politics and continuing border tensions keep the two countries apart. If there were ever two countries in need of a moment of happiness, they are India and Pakistan.

Over a three-day event, we connected India and Pakistan using world-first technology so they could share a simple moment of happiness.

Small World Machines opened a live digital portal between the two countries, compelling people to step forward and simultaneously create animated symbols of peace, love and happiness. Touch screens allowed eye-to-eye contact and physical interaction for the very first time. An online film let people share their experiences with the wider world.

I looked after the Pakistan side of the production. It was a challenge working across borders with India. Communication was tough and they were hit with daily rolling blackouts. The tension in the country was high during production, there was a security evacuation, a military coup, terrorist attacks and the arrest of a prime minister. Set against this difficult backdrop, the crew pulled together, jumped the many hurdles and prevailed. 

The culmination of which led to this project being touted by senior clients as the most culturally significant marketing they had done in over 40 years and was personally screened to John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State. The most awarded campaign for both Coca-Cola and the Leo Burnett network at Cannes 2013 and the only Australian entry to make the inaugural Innovation Lion shortlist. The film has over 1,800+ comments and was featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Huffington Post and PSFK, among others. 

A big thank you to all the crew on the ground there. Pakistan is an amazing country, with beautiful people.

MOMA New York Permanent Film Archive
AdFest (Grand Prix, Innovation, 1 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze)
AWARD (4 Silver, 3 Bronze)
Cannes (3 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze)
Clios (1 Gold, 2 Silver)
D&AD (Direct, White Pencil)
Kinsale Shark Awards (Gold, Silver)
Leo Burnett HumanKind Communication Award
London International Awards (3 Gold, 1 Bronze)
IAB Mixx Awards (Best of Show, 2 Gold)
SHOTS Awards (Interactive Idea of the Year finalist)
The ANDY Awards (4 Gold)
Spikes (2 Gold, 1 Silver, 5 Bronze)

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