Coke Slaps More Than 70 Song Lyrics on Cans and Bottles

Next Phase of 'Share a Coke' Has a Musical Bent

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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.
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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.
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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.
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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.
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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.
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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.
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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.
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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola.

This summer, Coca-Cola will again try to teach the world to sing -- this time with a little help from its bottles and cans.

In the next phase of its "Share a Coke" campaign, the cola giant starting in April will put song lyrics on packaging pulled from more than 70 popular songs. Lyrics cover a range of music, from rock 'n' roll classics like Queen's "We are the Champions" to patriotic songs such as "Proud to Be An American" by Lee Greenwood. (See some examples in the above slideshow.) Coke will also include lyrics from some of its iconic campaigns, such as "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke," the classic jingle that includes the line, "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony."

The campaign, called "Share a Coke and a Song," will be supported by music-themed TV spots, social media and a summer-long experiential tour that begins with an event at this weekend's Final Four. The campaign will cover Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life, furthering the marketer's new "one-brand" strategy that unites multiple varieties together in the same marketing.

Agencies on the campaign include: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland for creative; Universal McCann for media; Arc Worldwide for shopper marketing; Cornerstone Agency for music; Fast Horse for PR and FortyFour and Irban Group for e-commerce.

The program sets up a summer of dueling packaging plays between the nation's' two biggest cola brands. Rival Pepsi is planning to dress its cans and bottles in custom emoji designs called "PepsiMojis."

Coke plans to extend its campaign to mobile by encouraging consumers to use the Shazam app to scan specially marked 20-ounce bottles and in-store signage. That will allow users to record a 15-second "digital lip-sync video" that can be shared on social media using the hashtag #ShareaCoke, according to the brand.

Coke first ran "Share a Coke and a Song" in China in 2014, but this is the first time the campaign has come to the U.S.

Similarly, "Share a Coke"" got its start abroad. The program, which listed first names and colloquial nicknames on bottles and cans, debuted in Australia in 2011 and did not hit the states until 2014. Coke brought "Share a Coke"" back in 2015 after it was credited with helping to boost sales. In 2014, brand Coke grew sales volume for the first time since 2000, according to Beverage Digest. The following year, sales volume for Coke fell 1%.

This year, "we really thought it was time to do something more, something different and something potentially better," said Racquel Harris Mason, Coca-Cola North America's VP for Coca-Cola and Coke Zero.

The new program is also a lot more complex than the original "Share a Coke." The marketer, for instance, had to secure the licensing rights for dozens of lyrics. "It was a very big undertaking," Ms. Mason said. "And we found incredibly collaborative partners in the music industry that enabled us to bring this to life." The process, she said, took between six and eight months.

"Share a Coke and a Song" is part of the "Taste the Feeling" campaign, Ms. Mason said.

TV spots won't hit the market until early May. Asked if big name music stars would appear in ads, Ms. Mason said she could not yet confirm details, citing "contractual limitations."

While Coke has long used music in its marketing, the company has stepped up its lyrical game this year. The global "Taste the Feeling" campaign that launched earlier this year includes a new jingle featuring up-and-coming Australian pop singer Conrad Sewell. Other ads include fresh covers of pop songs, such as "Under Pressure" from the late David Bowie and Queen, as well as a folksy version of Avicii's "Hey Brother."

Mr. Sewell is among the artists scheduled to perform in Houston during Final Four festivities as part of what is called the "Coca-Cola Music Mix." Also, one of Mr. Sewell's lyrics -- "It's a beautiful life" -- will be featured on packaging.

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