Coca-Cola Teaches the World to Sing with Lyrics On Its New Packages

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Share a Coke and a Song

If printing a name on a bottle can move the needle for Coke sales, what will a song lyric do?

Coca-Cola is about to find out with its new campaign, “Share a Coke and a Song,” an extension of its “Share a Coke” promotion from two years ago that was credited with giving Coke sales a 1 percent boost in the US. It also introduced a new thrust in the soft drink industry, which extended to Diet Coke’s new campaign featuring unique and colorful bottle designs and a new effort from rival PepsiCo that used custom emoji designs on Pepsi.

Beginning in April, packages of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life will feature an array of more than 70 song lyrics from recent chart-toppers, classic hits and traditional favorites. In a couple of weeks, visitors to a website will be able to choose from a list of lyrics to customize bottles, access crafted digital images to share on social media and participate in a photo gallery. And they can use the Shazam music app to scan the lyrics on specially marked bottles and signage so they can record and share a digital lip-synch video.

For now, the available lyrics include popular lines from songs such as We Are the Champions, The Way You Loved Me, Lean On Me and I’m Proud To Be an American.

Share a Coke and a Song

“Song lyrics strike an emotional chord in people, capturing what we are feeling while helping us express what we want to say,” said Joe Belliotti, head of global music marketing for Coca-Cola North America, in a press release.

The second year of the Share a Coke campaign—after Coke greatly expanded the number of names and terms of endearment on its packaging—failed to nudge sales as much as the program’s first year. But much has happened with Coke’s marketing since then, including the departure of senior marketing executive Wendy Clark to become CEO of DDB North America and the brand’s hatching of a new marketing campaign, “Taste the Feeling,” to replace its long-running “Open Happiness” positioning.

But now “Share a Coke and a Song” ups the ante in a number of ways. It is a master brand campaign for all Coke product lines, much like the “Taste the Feeling” takes a more across-the-board approach. Also, it took Coca-Cola months to line up licensing rights for all these lyrics.

Share a Coke and a Song

Still, Coke chose to debut the new music-based platform in China in 2014 before bringing it to the US, similar to how it introduced “Share a Coke” in Australia in 2011.

“We really thought,” Racquel Harris Mason, Coca-Cola’s North America vice president for Coca-Cola and Coke Zero, told Advertising Age, “that it was time to do something more, something different and something potentially better.”

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