Following a successful 2010 campaign, Coca-Cola has holiday music plans again this year - this time with Natasha Bedingfield. The "Unwritten" singer is the new vocalist for Coca-Cola's 2011 global campaign, featuring the song "Shake Up Christmas" written and produced by Butch Walker. Originally recorded by Train for the 2010 launch, "Shake Up Christmas" was given a multicultural spin by Bedingfield, who sings the single in English, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, Swahili and Tagalog to localize the song across 90 different territories.
The campaign presented a fun challenge for the British-born Bedingfield, who speaks German but says she is conversational at best in most other languages. "The funny thing is it's a lot easier to sing in the language than it is to speak," Bedingfield tells Billboard.biz. "They were all difficult, but as I sang the song in each language it took on a new personality. I sang it in French and automatically it sounds more sexy, more emotive. I really wanted to get all the accents right so I brought in dialect coaches and spent a lot of time getting it so people could really understand it. I didn't want to be like, [she drawls] 'Parlez-vous Francais?' "
A new TV campaign, created by Coca-Cola's agency McCann Spain, has already begun airing in the Philippines and Latin America, and has begun to gain traction in Africa and Europe. U.S. spots just began airing on local TV and in movie theaters, with plans for a national broadcast TV rollout next month.
AJ Brustein, senior global brand manager for Coca-Cola, said "Shake Up Christmas" was the first global Christmas campaign ever for the company, after 80 years of Christmas-related advertising. For the second go-round, the company was looking for a female voice who could complement Train's initial take on the song. "We were looking someone who embodies the values of Coke - happiness, positivity, optimism - and one of the artists that came up was Natasha Bedingfield," Brustein says. "When we looked at all the top songs she'd come up with, we really felt she was a perfect match for Coca-Cola and for the song."
Train's "Shake Up Christmas" was a top-seller for Coca-Cola globally, reaching No. 1 on the iTunes sales charts in six countries, including Germany, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands and Switzerland. On YouTube, the single has logged 2 million views for the commercial and 11 million views for the music video, a sign that the song has taken on a life of its own. Bedingfield's single is available on iTunes in the U.S. as well as globally, with a special megamix of her singing "Shake Up Christmas" in all six languages coming soon.
"I feel like Christmas has so many layers to it," Bedingfield says. "It's the most incredible time where we hang out with our family, but has those moments where it gets messy. I like that the campaign talks about the highs and lows of that season, what family means and how complicated and incredible that is. You can't have one without the other. A lot of our best memories happen at Christmas time."
As for Bedingfield's own Christmas plans, she hasn't finalized them but may return to England to see her family. "Now that I'm married, you have to juggle both families," she says, referencing her husband of two years Matthew Robinson. In the meantime, she'll be celebrating her 30th birthday on Thanksgiving. "I'm renting a big Malibu mansion and having a bunch of friends up. It should be a great time."