Following rumors last fall, Coca-Cola confirmed that it's producing a global TV series to woo teens with music in more than 30 countries during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
As a (lightly) branded entertainment extension of its global youth and music-oriented "Move to the Beat" Olympics marketing platform, Beat TV is being distributed in partnership with MTV Networks International, producing 10 episodes aimed at bringing youths some of the cultural flavor and excitement of the Games and its London setting. It's also not to be confused with "Move to the Beat TV," above, a web series Coca-Cola produced for European audiences as part of its Olympic marketing. (Coke's Move to the Beat campaign just picked up a bronze Cannes Lions award for mobile this week.)
While sponsored TV programming isn't new — look at NBC's recent Escape Routes series touting the Ford Escape crossover vehicle — Coke says Beat TV will run as a regular TV show (including channels with official rights to the Olympics and previous ad commitments from Coca-Cola); it won't feel like an infomercial for Coke's official Olympics sponsorship and the brand's presence won't be "overt"; and ad opportunities will be open to other brands.
"We're filling out a need and a desire," Claudia Navarro, Coca-Cola's global Olympic marketing director, told Ad Age. "Sometimes you have games coming and going and you get a lot of info on the event, but you miss out on what it would have felt like had you been there ... We'll capture the vibe of London, the social aspect of it for the fans." While Beat TV is designed as a 10-part half-hour series, show lengths may vary by region, and will include shortform clips for digital and social marketing.
PepsiCo, meanwhile, has been producing its own branded web video series with Twitter, called #LiveForNOW, as part of its youth- and music-oriented global marketing platform, "Live For Now." Billboard magazine just signed on as the official sponsor for the brand's first "Summer Beats Concert Series." PepsiCo has also partnered with MTV Networks on a social marketing deal that incorporates Twitter into a "Live For Now" tie-in.
According to Pepsi's press release on the Summer Beats concerts,
The series will kick off on Tuesday, June 26th with a surprise performance in Los Angeles, followed by a Nashville concert at the end of July and a spectacular event in New York City in late August. For the first time, fans watching the concerts via the Pepsi Twitter page livestream will be able to influence elements of the performance in real-time.
The live events will cater to crowds of up to 1,000 people, while millions of music fans around the world will be able to watch online through Pepsi's enhanced Twitter profile page and on Pepsi.com.
The concerts will be promoted on Billboard.com and will be available on-demand after the show as well. The "Summer Beats Concert Series" will serve as an integral part of the broader partnership with Twitter. The program launched last month with free weekly music downloads and original recap videos.