Coca-Cola has long celebrated music as the heart of its brand, but the days in which it would like to buy the world a Coke are long past. It's stepping up its musical courtship by specifically wooing Gen Y, the young demographic that in the next nine years will grow to about 2.5 billion people world-wide.
It's been making a bid to stay modern and contemporary, including tapping K'naan for its World Cup anthem last summer, and the French avant-disco duo Daft Punk for a current collaboration that includes a new tune (above) and limited-edition packaging.
Next up: a live event in London on March 22 that will team the brand with the band Maroon 5 in a global crowdsourcing project to further attract young music lovers to connect Coke with music.
Coca-Cola is sponsoring a 24-hour competition in which a global audience will be able to invited to virtually collaborate with the band to influence the creation of a song. Fans can RSVP on Facebook to take part in this interactive event, which aims to redraw the boundaries between artist and fan to create a unique musical experience.
It's all part of Coca-Cola’s 2020 Vision to more than double revenue (to $200 billion) and servings (to more than 3 billion per day) in the next nine years. And they need a bevy of new fans to embrace their beverage to do that.
"There's a strategic clarity of growth objectives driven by the 2020 Vision," comments Shay Drohan, SVP of sparkling brands, to Ad Age. "We can't afford not to talk to teens. You can't think, 'Teens already know us,' and skip a couple of years. Every six years there's a new population of teens in the world."
That's why the soft-drink giant is rolling out its Coca-Cola Music campaign in 100 markets, six of which will be home to 50% of teenagers by 2020: China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the U.S.
Broadly defined as 13- to 19-year-olds, the common denominator for Gen Y is music, hence Coke's invitation to “Be a part of the biggest experiment in rock history.”
The 24hr Session project is a 20-market initiative that kicks off March 22 in London, when Maroon 5 takes to a London studio to create a new song – communicating with fans for inspiration as their comments and photos are streamed onto the studio walls via interactive projection.
"This is the most ambitious and experimental effort in music Coca-Cola has ever undertaken," says Joe Belliotti, director-global entertainment marketing, to Ad Age. “Our success in growing our sparkling category today depends on our ability to grow and connect with teens, the generation of tomorrow," adds CEO Muhtar Kent.
Other musical moves aimed at youths: One Night Only, an up and coming British band, also recorded "Can You Feel It," incorporating Coca-Cola's iconic sonic earworm for a new global spot for Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam:
Another example of its musical outreach to plugged-in youths: the "Coca-Cola Music Studio" program on Myx!, a TV startup aimed at kids in California: