Coke launches Marshmello’s Limited-Edition Coca-Cola ‘because they have no choice’
With its latest limited-edition beverage, Coke continues to push to make its brand feel younger and more relevant. This time Coca-Cola Creations is collaborating with EDM star Marshmello in an effort to tap into his massive audience.
Marshmello's latest collab isn't with a pop artist, it's with Coca-Cola. / The Coca-Cola Company
First there was Coca-Cola Starlight. Launched in February, its taste was “inspired by outer space.” Then there was the "pixel-flavored" Byte in April. Now, we’ve got Marshmello’s Limited Edition Coca-Cola which, counterintuitively, tastes like watermelon and strawberry.
This is all part of Coca-Cola Creations' grand innovation plan meant to make the brand more appealing to younger consumers in niches where the Coke brand is often an afterthought — or not a thought at all. The number one global cola brand promised “unexpected mashups,” and the latest effort delivers.
Marshmello’s limited-edition Coca-Cola will be available in the United States beginning July 11 and will then make its way to select countries. The slim 12-ounce can’s design plays off of the artist’s iconic black and white mask.
To promote the soda, the brand will take over Marshmello’s Twitch channel on July 9. Fans will be invited to gain access to “metamerch” created by Zepeto, known for its 3D avatars. On July 25, fans can scan a QR code to visit Coca-Cola Creations' online hub. Here, AI technology “will transform their emotions while listening to Marshmello’s latest track into a personalized piece of art,” per the company.
While it’s easy to dismiss these quarterly product drops as mere stunts, that would be missing the point, says Beverage Digest editor Duane Stanford. Coca-Cola Creations has “given Coke a platform to test, see what works and do better at getting to consumers in their late teens and early twenties where things are moving so fast," he says. "It’s hard for a big company to be authentic and speak to these affinity groups, but they have to try. They have no choice. They have to be somewhere in the conversation.”
Coke is certainly not playing alone in the attention-grabbing game. Pepsi has been extremely aggressive, trotting out unabashed stunts like cola-infused pepperoni pizza and Tropicana cereal that’s meant to be mixed with orange juice. Then, there are nostalgia plays like Crystal Pepsi and Gatorade’s recent trademark filing for a virtual beverage.
There will only be more to come from both beverage giants. Coke has promised additional forthcoming flavors that play up “unexpected collaborations driven by creativity and cultural connections,” per the company.
As for Marshmello’s new cola, Omar Vlad, senior director of global strategy, said in a statement: “Music is powerful in connecting communities and creating opportunities for shared experiences, much like Coca-Cola. For our third Coca-Cola Creations drop, we sought to add an unexpected remix of flavors to great Coca-Cola taste, and Marshmello is the perfect collaborator.”
Indeed, Marshmello is no stranger to collaboration. Marshmello has partnered with everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Bastille to Juice WRLD and Demi Lovato. He has more than 12bn streams on Spotify and is the third-most subscribed artist on YouTube. Marshmello said in a statement: “We created a vibey blend of my favorite flavors in this all-new mix. I think it tastes amazing and I hope fans love it too.”