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Company – Coca Cola

Agencies – FCB Johannesburg (lead), Eclipse PR, C3 PR, The Media Shop, Offlimits, Graffiti Media Group

Market(s) – South Africa

Timing – April – January

Coca-Cola celebrated 20 years of democracy in South Africa with a real rainbow installation: an homage both to its “Open Happiness” slogan as well as to Desmond Tutu’s “Rainbow Nation”.


In the lead-up to Freedom Day in South Africa, Coca-Cola wanted to create something that would entrench its brand proposition, “Open Happiness”, in marking 20 years of democracy in South Africa. As a brand, Coca-Cola prides itself on acting as a social connector. This occasion was an opportunity to bring people of all cultures, races and ages together in appreciation of how much South Africa has achieved.


20 years ago Archbishop Tutu coined the phrase “Rainbow Nation” to describe South Africa’s diversity. Coca-Cola didn’t just show the symbol of the nation, they created it. Using the 2nd biggest skyscraper in the Central Business district of Johannesburg, Coca-Cola shared its message and created real rainbows for the whole city to see. (A mist of recycled water caught the sun at specific angles to create real rainbows.)


Working closely with Coca-Cola, support agencies and production support companies, FCB Johannesburg conceptualized and led the project. C3 & Eclipse executed all PR communication. The Media Shop and Grafiti negotiated building and billboard media placement as well as building artwork. Offlimits executed the activation amplification around the building during the rainbow appearances.

To build a real rainbow required a huge amount of commitment, planning, testing and communication. Coca-Cola encouraged outside-of-the-box thinking and pushed collaboration through rounds of tissue session meetings. Once the rainbow idea was decided upon, collaboration continued through weekly meetings with clients, agencies and later on, companies.


News of the rainbow spread and was picked up beyond South Africa’s borders. It had people talking on social media, got #RainbowNation trending and was featured on hundreds of sites, radio, TV stations and newspapers around the globe. The government even issued a formal statement of gratitude: “This is fantastic Coca-Cola. Thank you for showing us the beauty of this unique nation.”