How Coca-Cola found its creative groove

Andrea Sophocleous

In 2012, The Coca-Cola Company enjoyed its most-awarded year in history at the Cannes festival, taking home a total 30 Lions. This year, the firm is also set to be named Cannes' Creative Marketer of the Year. Back in 2003, however, it was a different story. Then-CEO Neville Isdell declared the company "creatively bankrupt", prompting the beverage giant's marketing department to set up its creative excellence discipline a year later.

Coke's VP of global advertising strategy and content excellence, British-born Jonathan Mildenhall, has become the brand's most visible and passionate creativity advocate and was in Sydney recently to espouse the power of creative work at the third annual CIRCUS Festival of Commercial Creativity.

Mildenhall was treated to a rock star's welcome as he took to the stage to deliver the first presentation of the conference. His message – that the most creative brands in the world are the most commercially successful brands – was popular with an audience drawn from all disciplines of the marketing and advertising spectrum.