“We wanted to use the lyrics that connect people, and create those moments of sharing,” Joe Belliotti, Coke’s global head of music, tells Billboard. “This was not about finding the most popular songs of today. This was about finding lyrics that can help you connect with someone. Because at the end of the day music and the lyrics in songs help you express what you sometimes aren’t able to out into words yourself.”
The campaign will be teased in ads running this weekend during the NCAA Final Four games. It’s the next incarnation of the program that swapped out the beverage company’s logos for names in 2014-15. That activation was one of the best-performing campaigns in company history. Belliotti has equally lofty hopes for Share A Coke and A Song.
“I go back to the mix tape, where we would made mix tapes to connect with people to share how we’re feeling,” he says. “Today that’s the playlist. And tomorrow it will be a Coke because we’ve taken the lyrics that connect to all these different moments in people’s lives.”
Only a handful of the songs are in the public domain, and although he declined to detail specifics of the publishing deals, Belliotti notes, “It was a great collaboration with the publishers, and it was a true collaboration because there is no business model for what we are trying to do. We had to work with the publishers to come up with a fair model. It was a lot of conversation but it was fairly easy because the publishers loved the idea like we did.”
Coke’s Joe Belliotti Talks World Cup and Coca-Cola’s Global Music Strategy (Q&A)
As it rolls out, the campaign will provide opportunities to connect more deeply with artists and songs. Through a collaboration with Shazam, every package will carry the Shazam logo, and image recognition technology threaded into the logos on the 20-ounce bottles link to a back-end app enables “consumers to record themselves, lip-sync style, and create cool add-ons and filters and share on social media,” Belliotti says. “We’re giving people the opportunity to Shazam your Coke.”
Additionally, participating artists and songwriters’ stories about their songs and others that are meaningful to them will be woven into the activation from television to radio to social media to live events. A complete list of artists and lyrics will be available at ShareaCoke.com beginning April 18.
“One of great opportunities is we can take all our music partnerships - iHeart, Spotify, BET and others – and now connect them to this massive program that is going to have a national presence at retail,” Belliotti says.