Through a poem co-written and performed by British artist George The Poet, the anthem film invites us to challenge the so-called new normal, to stay open and bring renewed optimism for the change ahead.
To the sound of a rendition of the 1960’s iconic track “San Francisco”, we follow George performing his own words. But as the film progresses, different people join in, young and old, from all walks of life and parts of the globe.
Each person makes a part of the poem their own, challenging the old notions of work, family, travelling, body and race awareness, gender, immigration, sexuality and female leadership, all in one continuous, poetic flow. The film ends with George and a last statement of optimism from Coca-Cola: “We’ll weather this storm, so I’ll be open like never before”.
Cultural / Context information for the jury
After a 3-month pause in their advertising and channeling $100 million to COVID relief efforts, Coca-Cola launched its first brand statement with Open Like Never Before. Created and produced during lockdown, the film was shot and finished remotely within 6 weeks and has been launched in over 40 countries, after Coca-Cola and other global companies joined a social-media embargo in response to the spread of racial slur and hate speech online.
The poem was co-created with George the Poet, and references a few ongoing social and cultural themes, such as the Saudi Arabian female empowerment movement, the racial equality protests and the rise of female world leaders in times of COVID (as a cameo, it features the photo of George’s grandmother, Joyce Mpanga, a Ugandan politician and activist for women’s rights).
Provide the full film script in English.
We open on a montage of people waking up to and navigating the new normal. And land on a super close up of George The Poet, indoors.
We see the thoughts running through his head. He says:
Who says we have to go back to normal, back to anything.
What if the new normal ain’t the normal we knew?
And we can’t just do what we’d formerly do.
He grows in emotion, his tone becomes urgent, poignant. He stands up and starts walking. The camera follow his every move. He stops, looks into the camera and says:
What if the biggest change is you and me
What if we choose to be open?
Cut to a cashier at a supermarket, speaking up for her new truth
on the PA microphone. The sound is a bit distorted by
the audio feedback. She says: I will never call my job unimportant again.
We cut back to George, then to a mother in a car dropping off her kid at school...she finishes his sentence:
I will never say
that teacher’s holidays are too long...
Suddenly her kid jumps in super close to camera. The kid goes:SCHOOL SUCKS
.. and George continues: Or that school is dry and I can’t wait to move on.
A woman on the bus lets the sound sink in. She exits a tunnel and the whole bus lights up. We hear humming from a couple of people further down the bus/cart. We track out and she looks into the camera, while removing her earphone: My ears are not my earphones. What if I listen.
We cut back to George indoors, he starts his next thought as we see a dad ecstatically hugging his little girl. What if I’m missing how bright your eyes glisten.
We cut to a middle-aged man in a tracksuit at a beach. He’s
barefoot and we see his footsteps in the sand. It’s a moment of realisation. We hear his internal thoughts: What if I just smile a bit. Travel less and love every mile of it.
What follows is a montage of people who perfected their craft in lockdown. A home dough-maker cracks an egg over the camera. We speed ramp into slow-motion as the egg
falls towards us. A self-taught drummer plays on homemade
drums. He screams over the drums: What if I believe in the change my cooking, my music can do!
We see a montage of dancers (Tik Tok Style). George says:And what if I don’t dance, but just for you I might give in to the rhythm soon.
George takes over again, as we cut to a dad with a sleeping kid in his arms. He whispers: What if I refuse to be a stranger in my own living room.
We cut to a couple on a bridge, they just broke up. She walks away from him: And I’ll learn my lesson from a bad memory, and I’ll keep social distance from bad energy.
Now we are in a kitchen, where a woman pranks her friend with silly haircuts. She laughs, as we cut back to George on the street.
And I’ll prove that funny beats sexy any day. But I’m still cute, anyway.
We cut to the driver’s seat of a car. A Saudi woman talks to camera: What if my dreams never take the backseat again,
Then to a dad playing foosball on the floor with his son, followed by an Asian couple facetiming each other: What if I’m there whenever you need a friend.
We cut back to George lovingly touching his bald head. What if I celebrate my skin, my body, my hair, every day! Even Mondays. He laughs.
The film picks up urgency as we cut through different vignettes of people looking straight at us. What if I celebrate my skin, my body, my hair, every day! Even Mondays.
And I’ll stand by every word I say. I’ll make my vote count, make my voice heard today.
We rapidly cut in between taxi drivers from all over the world: South Africa, São Paulo, London. ’ll never say this city has too many tourists again.
George sets up the next scene: a woman holding the black and white image of her grandmother. I’ll lead, like a woman.
We see a group of friends and neighbours with their families gathering together around an improvised dinner able across fences. They raise a glass of Coca-Cola to toast with each other. I’ll have a family of dozens. Give my little nephews and nieces some cousins.
And go straight into a rapid montage of different couples who couldn’t
get married in the crisis, finally saying “I do”. Straight,
lesbian, gay, awkward, funny suits, lovely dresses, everyone. I’ll stay right beside you.
I’ll say Yes, Yes, Yes, I do.
For the finale we revisit some people from the film for moments of unity, relief and levity. I’ll never forget how much stronger we are together. I’ll carry that in my heart forever.
We land back on George, he looks through the curtains to the outside world. We’ll weather this storm.
Cut to him one more time, now outside in a park. The letterbox opens wide. So i’ll be...OPEN LIKE NEVER BEFORE.