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Coca-Cola Puts an Artistic Spin on QR Codes



QR codes are typically an entirely functional way to direct mobile users to digital content, but Coca-Cola has put an artistic spin on the technology.

With agency partner WPP Open X, the brand used AI technology to create QR codes that incorporate musical and visual elements. Each code is linked to a different scene and artist from Coke’s music video, “Be Who You Are (Real Magic),” which is part of its global music program Coke Studio.

Coke partnered with creative technologist and artist Troy Ni, who had already begun creating QR art with AI and sharing his designs on Reddit over the summer. For Coke’s project, he used the tools Stable Diffusion and ControlNet to recreate moments from the brand’s video, such as a record store where Grammy- and Academy Award-winner Jon Batiste is greeted with a bottle of Coke.

Consumers who scan the codes can access the music video. The codes will also appear across the U.S. in select movie theaters, stadiums and theme parks.

Coke Studio debuted in Pakistan in 2008 and launched globally in May 2022 to showcase emerging musical talent. The latest season launched with the “Be Who You Are (Real Magic)” track, which is written and performed by Batiste and features NewJeans, J.I.D, Camilo and Cat Burns.

The Coke Studio campaign was larger in scale this year, incorporating live performances, concert sponsorships, and AR and digital experiences. The release of “Be Who You Are (Real Magic)” was followed by eight additional tracks from musicians including Imagine Dragons, Sam Smith and Evdeki Saat.

This campaign continues Coke’s experimentation with AI. In March, the brand unveiled a “Create Real Magic” AI platform created by OpenAI and Bain & Company that allowed consumers to produce digital art using creative assets from Coca-Cola’s archives. Artists could submit their pieces for a chance to have them featured on digital billboards in Times Square and Piccadilly Circus and to win a trip to attend a workshop in Atlanta run by Coke’s global design and creative teams.

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