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Creative

Coca-Cola's CNY Ad Is a Beautiful, Symbolic Father & Son Story

Hornet's Yves Geleyn draws on traditional folklore and charming illustration to tell the story of magical family connections

Coca-Cola's CNY Ad Is a Beautiful, Symbolic Father & Son Story

In this spot for Coca-Cola, Yves Geleyn creates a simple yet symbolic story about a father & son, a homecoming, and family reconnections during the Lunar New Year.

With Yves’ signature devotion to narrative detail on full nanoscopic yet gigantic display—and artistic inspiration drawn from traditional Chinese folklore, illustration, and sculpture—this modern-day folk tale offers the perfect blend of visual knockout and emotional punch.

And of course, there’s a humble yet heroic bottle of Coca-Cola as the catalyst of the real and magical family connections.

In Chinese culture, the Lunar New Year is the biggest, most important festival. During LNY, the entire family comes together to reconnect, bond, and celebrate the beginning of the new year. However, amid modern society and changing social norms, the lack of a common ground often causes a generational divide between Chinese youths and their elders.

Within this context and within this world, our story unfolds. A rift between family members is mended by a simple reminder of what’s important. And a series of powerful layers beneath the surface propels the story forward. There’s the broad layer of Chinese culture and tradition. There's the importance of family gatherings to share stories and connect. There are the ongoing and familiar themes of the old mixing with the new.

And of course, there’s a humble yet heroic bottle of Coca-Cola as the central catalyst of the real and magical family reconnection. Coca-Cola has, after all, long been a must-have fixture at any LNY dinner table. It’s the symbol of real magic and family bonding. So after a lot of research and study, the team was inspired to find a unique way to tell the story of how a family is reconnected during LNY over a bottle of Coca-Cola.

In terms of look & feel, the world is almost like an elegant nature documentary brought to animated life. The landscape is lush, painterly, graphic, and distinctly Chinese—inspired by the majestic Tianzi Mountain and karst topography of Guilin. Through colour, lighting, and attention to small details like plant shape and foliage, there is no mistaking where this story takes place.

The characters meanwhile are brought to life in textural & sculptural CG. The family of tigers—in honour of the Year of the Tiger—are gloriously vibrant and bold. According to Yves, "I was ignited in my research by the wondrous and rich history of Chinese folk, art, sculpture, and culture and all of the different, yet recognisable ways they represent tigers. Their shapes pushed into a more graphic world and their faces and stripes were made into complex patterns. Wooden marionettes and sculptures complemented the paint workings or differing wood grains."

How the tigers move, look, and interact with each other plays a big role in the evolution of the story. Far more than a simple aesthetic choice, the design decisions around their movements and makeup are—as is always the case with Yves—narratively driven. These tigers seamlessly move between animal-like (running, jumping, and leaping from all fours) to anthropomorphised (hanging decorations, setting a table, drinking Coca-Cola). The ebb and flow between these two styles is what helps further establish and symbolise the reconciliation and reconnection that happens between the father and son at the end.

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Client

Client: Coca-Cola

Production

Production Co: Hornet

Director: Yves Geleyn

Managing Director: Hana Shimizu

Head of Creative Development: Kristin Labriola

Producer: Hanna Smith-Ide

Production Coordinator: Madeline Metolius

Senior Editor: Anita Chao

Assistant Editor: Cole Bannick

Pre Production

Storyboard Artist: Stephanie Dere

Environment Design: Benjamin Plouffe

Character Design: Alejandro Diaz

Matte Painting + Design: Tristan Ménard

Junior Design Support: Kaycee Nwakudo, Hannah Kim

CG

CG Lead: Natalia Perez

CG Generalist: Angeline Rivera

Jr.CG Generalist: Joseph Chen

Models & Textures: Constance Benson

Textures: Alvin Bae

Additional Models: Cecilia Puglesi

Rigging: Josh Planz

Lighting & Rendering: Cody Chen, Mohamed Sinbawy, Nicole Noel

Compositors: Cody Chen, Mohamed Sinbawy, Nicole Noel

Animators: Hee Jin Kim, Tom Shek, Meg Oswalt

Audio

Original Score/Sound Design + Mixing: Ambrose Yu

Agency

Creative Team: Unlisted x Oglivy

Category: Carbonated Drinks , Soft Drinks

Genre: Animation , Storytelling