Image shows a large bottle of Coca-Cola submerged in an illustrated lake, as seen in Coca-Cola ad Masterpiece

Coca-Cola’s new ad literally brings art to life

In a new spot directed by Henry Scholfield, classic artworks have been transformed through a combination of live action, animation and AI

Andy Warhol’s 1962 painting of a Coca-Cola bottle offers a neat segue into the drinks brand’s new ad, Masterpiece.

The story takes place in a museum, where a student is battling boredom during a group study visit. However, the student’s interest is soon piqued when the artworks are unexpectedly animated.

It’s been directed by Academy Films’ Henry Scholfield, known for creating music videos with countless moving parts for music artists including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, and Rosalía.

Warhol’s isn’t the only recognisable artwork in the ad. Others include The Scream by Munch, The Shipwreck by JMW Turner, and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. These are interspersed with pieces by up-and-coming artists from around the world: Stefania Tejada, Vikram Kushwah, Fatma Ramadan, Wonder Buhle, and Aket.

It’s a familiar premise – reminiscent of Toy Story’s anthropomorphic toys, the paintings in Harry Potter that interact with one another, and Night at the Museum, which brought fusty museum exhibits to life. However, it is still quite rare to see this much technical craft packed into an ad.

Image shows a young person wearing a red tracksuit lying on a bed supposedly in Van Gogh's painting The Bedroom, as seen in Coca-Cola ad Masterpiece

On top of the intricate editing and transitions, the animations and VFX – handled by Electric Theatre Collective and its offshoot Electric Studios – have been carefully designed to echo the visual style of each given piece. The way they bleed into one another when a character from one piece engages with another artwork by a completely different artist is particularly enjoyable to watch.

Several of the artworks in the spot were shot in live action as part of their extended sequences, and the ad also makes use of “cutting edge AI”, according to Ajab Samrai, global CCO at Blitzworks, the agency that created the campaign. It’s an interesting signal of how machine learning might be incorporated into projects of this kind moving forward.

Image shows sailors in a storm heading towards a portal into a museum, as seen in Coca-Cola ad Masterpiece

There are plenty of people who will shudder at the sight of the Girl with a Pearl Earring popping the cap off a bottle of Coke, although it’s more common to see famous artworks in these settings nowadays, with pieces by the likes of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat appearing in an increasing number of commercial contexts.

The campaign first launched in Latin America and is being rolled out in other markets this year, along with eight ‘digital collectibles’ relating to the artworks.;