Coke Partners With Pop Star Leehom for Summer Promotion

Consumers Can Download 'Open Happiness' Song Via Bluetooth and Sing Tune in Karaoke Lounges

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Leehom at the summer promotion launch
Leehom at the summer promotion launch
SHANGHAI ( - Coca-Cola Co. partnered with Chinese pop star Leehom for its summer marketing program "Open Happiness" in China.

Launched in the U.S. in January 2009, the campaign is running across point-of-sale, promotions, outdoor and print advertising, and digital media and a hit song by Leehom.

Coke wants "to bring positivity, optimism and fun into their lives," said Joe Tripodi, Coke's chief marketing and commercial leadership officer in a statement.

Coke and Pepsi ramp up competition in China
The campaign is part of the battle to control China's soft drinks market. Over the next three years, Coca-Cola will invest more than $2 billion in infrastructure, marketing and operations across China.

Last month, the U.S. company opened bottling plants in two Chinese provinces, Jiangxi and Xinjiang, as well as in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia. In May, it signed up as a sponsor of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

Coke's arch rival PepsiCo, meanwhile, plans to invest $1 billion in China over the next four years to grow and broaden its portfolio of beverage and food products in one of the most important emerging markets. The company plans to increase manufacturing capacity, particularly in interior and western areas, expand local research and development facilities and build up Pepsi's sales force to broaden product distribution.

During a 10-day tour of China last month, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi opened the company's first overseas "green" plant in Chongqing. The factory uses more than 35 water and energy-saving designs, such as a high-pressure cleaning system and water-free conveyor belt lubricant. As part of its massive spending commitment, Pepsi plans to build five more plants in China in two years.

Leehom remixed U.S. song
Leehom appeared at a July 10 launch event in Shanghai attended by more than 2,000 fans. He performed "Open Happiness," a remix of a song created for Coca-Cola.

"Our ambition with this song is to invite Chinese youth to join us and celebrate summer with a powerful song that will help them energize and open up happiness," said Shanghai-based Andres Kiger, Coke's senior director of marketing in China.

The single has hit the No. 1 spot on four major music charts:'s Top 100 chart, China Mobile's music chart, the Pioneer Music Chart, and the China Original Music Chart. The remix, re-arranged with Chinese lyrics, is based on a soundtrack released in the U.S. in March for Coke's global "Open Happiness" campaign.

A Coke spot featuring Leehom was created by Red Lounge, an in-house agency based in Shanghai and staffed by Coke roster agencies like Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and Interpublic's McCann Erickson. Leehom fans can also download the video with Bluetooth technology at interactive outdoor advertising panels at bus stops. Coke has distributed a sing-along version for use in karaoke lounges. Consumers can also download the ringtone on China Mobile's music platform. Ten percent of the revenue from the ringtone downloads will be donated to the Coca-Cola Yunnan Aids Orphan program.

Aegis Group's Wwwins Consulting oversaw the digital aspects of the campaign and Heartland, partly owed by Aegis, was in charge of outdoor media. The rest of the media planning and buying was handled by Publicis-owned Starcom. Best Shine and Sony BMG organized the music and event planning.

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