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This artist built a tank to give away free books, and he's part of a growing trend in advertising
Raul Lemesoff is so dedicated to the power of knowledge, hes declared an all-out war on the presence of ignorance. His secret weapon? A 1979 Ford Falcon that hes converted into a traveling library-tank. - photo by JJ Feinauer
Raul Lemesoff is so dedicated to the power of knowledge, hes declared an all-out war on the presence of ignorance. His secret weapon? A 1979 Ford Falcon that hes converted into a traveling library-tank. He calls it the Arma de Instruccion Masiva, or, Weapon of Mass Instruction.

Lemesoff, who is somewhat of an artist and mad scientist, stocked his converted Falcon with more than 900 books, ranging from novels and short stories to collections of scientific essays and poetry, so he could cruise the streets of Buenos Aires handing out free books to anyone who wants them.

I dont do it for money. I dont do it for the fame, he said in a new documentary on his adventures that was posted to Vimeo Thursday. I do this because I love doing it.

The documentary is quirky in its own right, cryptically showing interviews of what appears to be friends and colleagues trying to guess what Lemesoff is building. I think hes building some kind of weapon, a man standing amidst a swath of books assumes.

Which makes the true intent of the short film all the more odd. At the outset of the video, the words Raul: A Weapon of Mass Instruction appear in white lettering over a lime green backdrop. Thats the only, subtle, indication that the video was produced as an ad for 7Up until the end of the video.

Rouseffs story has now become part of 7Ups Feels Good to be You campaign, which strives to Celebrate the everyday people around the world who personify Non-conformity. Originality. Wit. Unmistakable authenticity.

The video makes no statements about thirst or taste. There is no red dot mascot with sunglasses and tennis shoes. The only message is an appeal to intangible emotions: individuality, the thirst and respect for knowledge, a sense of community.

7Up isnt the first company to take this route. In fact, its not even the first soda company to do so.

Coca-Cola has done its fair share of feel-good advertising. Last year, the red and white soda company made waves for its 3-minute ad that also doubled as a documentary.

Cokes docu-ad explored Who are the people you say thank you to every day? and just like the Rouseff video, the fact that Coke was using the documentary as a front for their latest advertising campaign doesnt come up until the end, when the viewer is reminded to #ShareACoke.

So why the warm, feel-good ad campaigns masquerading as documentaries? Whatever happened to Max Headroom and the un-cola nuts?

Advertisers, it seems, are aiming to take advantage of what they think they know about how millennials react to advertising.

Though the brands' motives aren't entirely altruistic, the overall happiness goal will help position these brands for better engagement with the much sought-after millennial segment, Adweeks Kristina Monllos wrote earlier this month, commenting on the state of positivity branding.

The most prominent example of this strategy (at least in recent years) was Doves Campaign for Real Beauty, which went mega-viral with its Sketches video.

This next generation of consumers is all about affiliating themselves with brands that align with their own personal value systems, Nancy Vonk, co-founder of the creative leadership consultancy Swim, told Ad Age as part of its series on the top ad campaigns of the 21st century.

In what is probably no coincidence, these new positivity ads also come on the heels of a tumultuous future for soft drinks in America. So as California lawmakers seek to brand sugary drinks as a risk to public health, 7Up and Coca-Cola want you to remember that they value intelligence, individuality and gratefulness, just like you.