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Coca-Cola emphasizes ‘experience over ads’ with emerging artist push

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By Amy Houston | Reporter

May 19, 2022 | 5 min read

Coca-Cola has expanded its Coke Studio music platform globally with a launch film that reimagines Queen’s iconic song It’s A Kind of Magic. The Drum caught up with the brand’s head of global creative strategy Pratik Thakar and its head of global music and culture marketing Joshua Burke to understand why.

“Coke and music – there’s an amazing history,” begins Thakar, who cites the brand’s collaboration with The Beatles as one example.

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'The Conductor' by BETC London for Coke

“Coke is known for transcending boundaries, bridging divides, and so is music. Music unifies people, different cultures, and is a unified fighting force.”

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Coke Studio was originally launched back in 2008 in Pakistan to partner with emerging talent and deliver music to new audiences. The expansion campaign, created by BETC London, debuts with ad ‘The Conductor’ and serves as a continuation of Coke’s ‘Real Magic’ platform.

“It’s a homage to the legendary Queen,” says Burke. “An opportunity to refresh and reinterpret one of their greatest tracks in different ways across cultures and musical genres, for a new generation.”

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The video sees global artists, who are each on the verge of stardom, bringing their own unique styles to the music and reimagining the anthem. Created in partnership with Universal Music Group, artists including Grammy-nominated American artist Ari Lennox, British singer-songwriter Griff and K-pop girl band TRI.BE have all collaborated on the project, which will go live on YouTube here.

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“When we launched the Real Magic platform, it became evident that we wanted to move away from typical advertising and move to experiences,” adds Thakar. “You can actually write music tunes and notes – that’s real. But when it plays, that’s when the magic happens and you get goosebumps.”

With so many streaming platforms at people’s fingertips, what makes Coke Studio different from its rivals? “Brands working with artists or talent, nothing new in that, it’s not unusual,” admits Thakar. Interestingly Coke has chosen not to work with global celebrities for this campaign, and hopes to nourish emerging talent. “They are at that tipping point where they are getting that breakthrough. That’s where Coke provides a global stage to them.”

“Music is evolving, humanity and people are evolving. And we, as a brand, are evolving in the way that we approach music,” notes Burke. “Leveraging the power of a large global brand like Coca-Cola to bring these breakthrough artists under one roof, to create a platform for their music and to proliferate across borders, around the world and [in] fan groups is something that is extremely unique.”

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In addition to the commercial, further content can be unlocked through the on-pack activation ‘Drink. Scan. Enjoy,’ which sees packs of Coca-Cola turn into digital portals taking users to the Coke Studio platform. “Over the next few weeks we’re going to be releasing original music from these artists,” concluded Burke.

“The idea is that we’re anchoring the whole experience in this global film, but it extends into this ecosystem of music.”

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Coca-Cola: The Conductor by BETC London

By Coca-Cola

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