Brands have used music to leverage their brand communication for years now. Nothing new. New is to integrate Sound Branding elements into a song. But let’s start from the beginning…
Coca Cola has been developing its international FIFA World Cup Celebration campaign around “Wavin’ Flag”, a track by Somalian-born Canadian-based hip hop artist K’naan. “Wavin’ Flag” was first released in March of 2009, but it was only once the Celebration Mix was released that it climbed up the international charts. The Celebration Mix, renamed “Waving Flag”, was rewritten and recorded several times in the build up to the FIFA World Cup, with bilingual versions featuring artists singing in Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French, Greek, Naija, Chinese and Indonesian. The track has gone to number one on the charts in fifteen countries (according to Billboard.com).
The arabic version:
What makes it special from a branding perspective is…that Coca-Cola has not only blended it into its current marketing and will be featuring it in all of its international advertising (TV, Radio, online and mobile). Moreover Coca-Cola even integrated its sound logo (or jingle) theme, well-known from previous Coca-Cola commercials, generating a direct association between the remixed song and the brand. We call it watermark a technique to integrate a sound logo into a brand song, brand score or any other piece of music with the objective to increase recall and recognition of the brand and to build up the brand image with the chosen piece of music (a famous watermark case is the Telekom Sound Logo).
At the end of this Simpson Coca-Cola advertising you can hear the Coca-Cola Sound Logo whistled:
Another level is to „get the lyrics right“ and to communicate the brand positioning of Coca-Cola “optimism and happiness” in the song. That happened as well and according to Billboard, Coca-Cola “loved the song but noted that lyrical references to ‘a violent prone, poor people zone’ and people ‘struggling, fighting to eat’ didn’t fit the campaign’s themes” and therefore even had lyric adjustments that removed some of the “darker lyrics of the original song.”
If you like to hear the difference in lyrics here is the original version:
Overall Coca-Cola builds up its image with the song, leverages its brand communication and further strengthens its Sound Branding and K’Naan will also be singing during an 86 country “FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola” – well done!