Coca-Cola to collaborate with regional artists on Olympic campaign

Seb is Marketing Week’s agency specialist.

The “Move to the Beat” anthem, which is being produced by Mark Ronson and Katy B for release next year, uses sounds from five Olympic hopefuls as substitutes for different aspects of the track, such as a table tennis player’s grunt being used as a bassline.

Speaking to Pitch Stephen Butler, creative partner at Mother, Coca-Cola’s advertising agency, says that incorporating athletes and local artists so closely with the campaign’s creative was the only way to meet the brief.

“Our brief was to get young people involved in next year’s games,” Butler says. “We felt that by having a strong social element to the campaign was the best way to balance sport and music without being exploitative.”


Butler explained the agency developed the brief to build interest around specific athletes in different markets, so that teenagers were inclined to support them during the tournament.

“As the track is released around the world, we’re looking to collaborate with local artists on a verse in order to appeal markets based on their level of interest in the Olympic games rather than adopt a one size fits all approach,” Butler says. “When you’re launching across 180 markets you have to develop something that feels like it connects universally.”

He added that the challenge of using localised content was ensuring the original concept wasn’t made to look unrecognisable and felt the agency’s planned mobile aspect would help overcome this by letting people share it.

“Digital channels, specifically mobile gives us a massive platform to let people play with the track and be able to share it with others. Now that the documentary and song are finished we can really push on with the digital and mobile elements of the campaign,” he says. “Over the next three months we’ll sift through ideas and work out how we can achieve this.”

Elsewhere, other Olympic campaigns, such as Eurostar’s “Opening the Way” and P&G’s “Nearest and Dearest”, have used sport to a lesser extent in order to develop genuine messages that their consumers will respond to. Butler argues that a campaign without a strong sport influence wouldn’t have worked for “Move to the Beat” as the brand wanted to show teenagers how it fit into the social side of athletes lives, particularly around music.

“We’ve put sport right at the heart of our campaign,” he says. “The focus is on trying to have creative associated with the social side the Olympics, where athletes are sharing, downloading and playing their music. We’ve created this band of athletes and the idea is that each of them has an experience and a story to tell that will in some ways create a fanbase around them all.”

By effectively sanctioning remixes of its own anthem, Coca-Cola is building on the strong ties it already has with music – the hilltop [“I’d like to teach the world to sing”] campaignand more recently it’s FIFA World Cup 2010 ‘Celebration campaign – and producing creative that segues nicely into its plans to become an established music brand’ over the next two years.

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