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Coca-Cola tunes into teens

Cola giant swaps out names for moments in its summer promotion

Canadians can have a Coke and a song this summer.

Building on its popular “Share a Coke” program, which saw 25 million Coke bottles “personalized” with as many as 1,000 of the country’s most popular names, the company has partnered with music streaming service Spotify (a global partner since 2012) on a new program called “Play a Coke.”

The Canada-specific program will see the logos on more than 60 million 500ml bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero bottles replaced by more than 185 shareable moments such as “First Kiss,” “Class of 2016” and “True North, Strong.”

Each moment is comprised of a themed 20-plus track playlist, which users access by scanning the bottle using the free “Play a Coke” app (each bottle directs consumers to, where they can download the app). Users can play, pause and control song selection by twisting the bottle.

Coca-Cola is also bringing back its Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke flavours for a limited time.

Beth MacGibbon, strategic marketing manager for Coca-Cola in Toronto, said that the program is based on the cola giant’s new global marketing platform “Taste the Feeling, ” which is based on the concept of celebrating moments.

“When we looked at what we were going to do this summer, we thought how can we extend Taste the Feeling and that moments strategy even further and make them come to life for Canadians?” said MacGibbon. “Even though we’ve been rooted in a music for a little while, we thought what better way to do that than make your Coke have a soundtrack to a moment that’s right for you.”

While the “Play a Coke” program is designed to have what MacGibbon called “universal appeal,” its primary target is teens. With that in mind, the company has also partnered with seven leading online influencers, including YouTube personality Lilly Singh – AKA: Superwoman, whose channel has 8.6 million subscribers – to create up to 70 pieces of content related to the program.

“Share a Coke” was a major success for Coca-Cola during the key summer sales period, producing a 1% lift in its favourite brand scores and a 1.8% increase in buying occasions for its 500ml bottles. “We’re hoping for even better results this year,” said MacGibbon.

The second phase of “Play a Coke” will debut in July, supported by a multi-channel marketing campaign including experiential activations, online paid media, in-store marketing and social media engagement.

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