Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Open Happiness with Coca-Cola and Cee-Lo

Coca-Cola have formed their very own 'super-group' to create the soundtrack for their latest advertising campaign.

The track, "Open Happiness", debuted on MySpace earlier this week and is a collaboration featuring Cee-Lo (Gnarls Barkley), Brendon Urie (Panic and the Disco), Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes), Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) and Janelle Monae.

It's part of the "Open Happiness" campaign for Coke, which launched earlier this year in the US...
"Central to Open Happiness is the simple notion of enjoying an ice-cold Coca-Cola and taking a small break from the day to connect with others," said Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. "With this new campaign, that's exactly what we're inviting people to do more often -- open a Coke and share a little happiness."

But rather than making me happy, this song makes me cringe. Where is Janelle's soul? Where is Cee-Lo's funk? There is quite a bit of talent in here... and yet the track still sounds like a jingle. At least when Converse created "My Drive Thru" (with Santogold, Pharrell and Julian Casablancas), you could hear the individual artist's influence over the final sound.

If you're a brand, looking to go down the 'music' route, and you have the money to put a bunch of talented musicians together to produce music for you, why wouldn't you make the most of their talent?!! Why wouldn't you include some of their existing 'sound' (which is the reason their fans love them)? And if their existing sound doesn't fit your brand... then why don't you find an artist who does? Or hire a jingle writer instead?!

As a music lover, I appreciate brands that I see supporting artists. But a music campaign needs to be a partnership to work. And by that, I mean that both the artist and the brand should get something out of it. And not just money. For the artist, this could mean exposure (Coke's last collaboration with Justice worked well. It got Justice additional exposure amongst a mainstream audience, and fitted Coke's 'Club Coke' image nicely), or it could mean assistance in the promotion of a new album / clothing line / tour etc. For the brand, the artist and music should fit with them - and should not just be chosen because they are a current 'big name'. The music should help in giving people an emotional attachment to your brand. And if you don't make the artist look as though they are 'selling out', then the fan base of that artist will appreciate your support, and will support you in return.

On Cee-Lo's reasoning for doing the collaboration: “I guess what was interesting about the idea at first was Coca-Cola’s interest in me — that was appealing... Music’s marketplace can be very fickle and unforgiving and if you want longevity and you want legend, who better to ask advice from than Coca-Cola?” (via Rolling Stone). Oh, Cee-Lo... Coke's interest in you was what made this project appealing?!! That just makes it sound like they handed you a big fat pile of cash. Fans can also be very fickle and unforgiving. And I don't know that I can forgive you for partnering up with Coca-Cola on this project!

Check out the track via the Open Happiness MySpace page, and the 'making of' video is below.

Open Happiness Behind the Scenes
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