Coca-Cola launches a “Happiness Hackathon” for Social Profitability

Brand aligns with millennials and boosts corporate social awareness

Coca-Cola and teamed up in an effort to increase awareness of cyberbullying in the U.S., do something positive, affect a movement of change, and ultimately raised their corporate social consciousness profile.

  • Almost 50% of young people have been bullied online
  • 70% report seeing frequent online bullying
  • 90% who see it do nothing

Committed to building a stronger brand image among 13 to 19 year olds, Coca-Cola aligned themselves to the target demographic through social media with the launch of the “Happiness Hackathon” contest. Teens were asked to submit simple proposals online – how to Fight Hate With Happy.

A clever marketing strategy, to reach teens where there is the highest probability of getting respondents…online. The very space that cyberbullying occurs.

Why was it important that Coca-Cola take a stand? According to their contest site, online negativity is a problem affecting us all. Coca-Cola believes the Internet is what we make it, so why not #MakeItHappy?

“Once something is on the internet, it doesn’t go away.” The understanding is that you can use technology for good or you can use technology for bad. Social media plays a huge part in teens day-to-day lives and the ramifications are evident.

This generation genuinely wants to change the world. Coca-Cola and gave them a platform to feel empowered. Teen contest finalists met in NYC for a day to work together, alongside digital consultants, and hack out online solutions to cyberbullying.

“What we’re going to try to address at the Hackathon is creating a culture where it’s just as easy to tell someone that he’s something good and positive online as it is to reach out to the negative things,” said Shae Smith, Hackathon mentor,

Diversity played a key factor in the selection process. It was important to the end result that different people were able to share their stories and be represented: kids of colour; LGBT kids who experience bullying at a scale that is higher than others; everyone brought different experiences to the table.

Five experts served as judges — but no winner was awarded. According to the COO of, Aria Finger, “it would be silly to name a single elite idea, especially when trying to encourage a collaboration that celebrates all people and perspectives. Instead, winners were awarded recognition based on what they did best. One team won Best Use of Tech; another earned Most Unique Idea.

The concepts, though not currently in development, could eventually find their way to your your app store or plugin menu.

“We’re absolutely committed to being in touch with the teens and advocating for them and their ideas,” she said. “We are committed to this long term.”

Coca-Cola wants to use this platform to create ambassadors for a better world. Hope for more positivity. The message is the internet is what we make it.

See how the day came together for the “Happiness Hackathon”:

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