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    Sprite taps international musicians for first global brand platform

    • Sprite launched Sprite Limelight, its first unified global music program, per details shared with Marketing Dive. The music program is in support of the Coca-Cola brand’s recently launched global brand narrative, “Heat Happens.”
    • As part of Sprite Limelight, Grammy-winning musician James Blake produced a hook and lyric that will then be used to create original songs by rising artists from around the world, including American rapper-singer Coi Leray, Nigerian singer-songwriter Omah Lay and Chinese singer Hua Chenyu. The resulting songs and documentary-style music films will be available on YouTube and Spotify.
    • The content was created with Universal Music Group for Brands, and Sprite is leveraging Coca-Cola’s new OpenX agency partnership with WPP for “amplification.” The music effort is the latest example of a CPG brand forgoing traditional advertising for an activation around culture.

    With Sprite Limelight, the Coca-Cola soda brand is looking to connect music fans across borders as a way to tap into culture around the world. Such cultural plays have become a favorite tactic of marketers seeking the attention of younger consumers who have increasing purchasing power but are not receptive to traditional advertising. This type of musical effort is nothing new for Sprite — which has long fostered a connection with hip-hop culture — but represents a global expansion of past efforts.

    The creation of original songs that are tied to branding efforts is a popular marketing tactic, one that Sprite is employing with a global audience in mind. Blake, an English singer-songwriter who has won a Grammy Award and the Mercury Prize, has collaborated with some of the biggest names in pop music. Meanwhile, his collaborators could help Sprite connect with even younger consumers and/or ones in growing markets: Coi Leray and Omah Lay have found viral success on social platforms, while Hua Chenyu is a star in China.

    “Sprite Limelight provides a unique opportunity for fans to experience new music, through one hook reimagined three different ways. It also offers a window into the way they make music, as well as their own personal experiences — connected to our core brand philosophy — of staying cool in those moments when life’s heat feels intense,” Shrenik Dasani, Sprite’s global brand director, said in a statement.

    The musical program is an extension of Sprite’s first global brand platform, “Heat Happens,” which launched in May and was accompanied by a visual refresh. “Heat Happens” keys into an increasingly heated world — whether literally, due to the effects of climate change, or politically and socially — and looks to provide a moment of respite to consumers.

    “Heat Happens” will roll out in 2022 and is the first global output from OpenX, the bespoke team created last year by the Coca-Cola Company’s global marketing network partner WPP. OpenX is handling the amplification of Sprite Limelight, which features content created by Universal Music Group for Brands. OpenX’s integrated agency model came about following a massive agency review that kicked off in December 2020 as Coca-Cola sought to drive long-term growth by transforming the effectiveness and efficiency of its marketing.

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