The Power of AND: Coke Zero’s Unintentional Positive Productivity Reminder

Are you simply accepting things as they are…or are you open to the possibility of more?

Coke Zero's most recent commercial from ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky played before a movie I saw this weekend. Go ahead and watch the full commercial here.

As you can see, the main character was just trying to always get a bit more, to see if he could stretch his opportunities out simply by taking a chance. All it involved was simply uttering a tiny word and then remaining silent.

Halfway through, I began to filter it through this “Yes Man” mode of thinking. So, at the end, I imagined he was thanking the word “AND” itself (it does highlight briefly on the can after all) because it's helped him so much – not the product.

Now, I realize it's just a commercial trying to sell a product, but it does bring up a key idea worth tossing around your noggin.

Are you simply accepting things as they are…
or are you open to the possibility of more?

It reminds me of Amy Poehler's commencement speech to Harvard's Class of 2011. In it, she references one of the most important rules in improvisation: “Say Yes,” also known as the “Yes, And” rule.

When you're doing a scene with someone on stage and she says, “Welcome to McDonald's. How may I help you?” You don't say something silly like, “Who the hell are you talking to?” That's essentially like saying, “No, but…”, the exact opposite of “Yes, And”. You shouldn't try to manipulate the flow of a scene a particular way. What you should do instead is flow with it. Instantly accept the fact you're both in McDonald's (Yes), and then improvise from there (And).

Like the man in the commercial, by saying “And?”, you're not closing off any options. On the contrary, you're theoretically creating space that didn't exist before. Space for possibility. For opportunity. Space that now has to be filled on the spot.

For the store scene:

Scenario A

  1. The girl says, “Nice jeans.”
  2. He remains silent
  3. They go their separate ways

Scenario B

  1. She compliments him
  2. He says, “And?”
  3. Now they're ready for some post-4:00pm fun

Remember that quote from Sh!t My Dad Says?
“That woman was sexy…Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them.”

Shit my dad says twitter screenshot

There's a subtle power that comes with the act of allowing as opposed to restricting, intentionally or otherwise. When you make the assumption of ‘that's all there is', you're basically saying “no” to the possibility of something potentially better.

Go ahead and drop a few “ands” at work today or in some conversations with friends. I mean that figuratively, but take it literally, if you so dare. Worst-case scenario, you get some strange looks. On the other hand, you could start down some new paths and perhaps gain some insight. If that's too tall of an order, do it privately and see what answers you come up with on your own.

So, in the words of Coke Zero, get out there and “Enjoy Everything”. Just don't let anyone (especially you) prematurely determine what that ‘everything' is supposed to be.

Do you find there to be any truth in this concept?
What are some ways you're positive and allowing?
How about negative and restrictive?
Please share your story with other readers!

Don't settle
There is always something more
There is always something better

Douglas Wagner

Douglas Wagner is a writer, entrepreneur, and freelance marketing consultant based in Los Angeles with a passion for adventure, advertising, and alliteration. He is an avid supporter of "learn something new everyday" and "don't knock it 'til you try it."