Marketing

Why Coca-Cola Released 32 Versions of the Same Song for the World Cup


Brazilian street band Monobloco and Japanese singer-songwriter Naoto Inti Raymi perform during the Coca Cola Cup Trophy event in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, on April 11

Photograph by Rodrigo Reyes Marin/AFLO

Brazilian street band Monobloco and Japanese singer-songwriter Naoto Inti Raymi perform during the Coca Cola Cup Trophy event in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, on April 11

Coca-Cola knows a good song when it hears it. In 1971, the soft drink company introduced its I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke jingle, which, when later rerecorded as I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony), became a No. 1 hit in the U.K. and a Top 10 single in the U.S. (It’s probably still stuck in your head today.) In 2010, as part of its $300 million ad campaign for the South African World Cup, Coca-Cola (KO) released two dozen versions of K’Naan’s Wavin’ Flag—making sure to take out all the references to K’Naan’s impoverished childhood in war-torn Somalia that appeared in the original song, of course. “Wavin’ Flag” became a No. 1 iTunes hit in 17 different countries. This year the company is at it again. For the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Coca-Cola has released 32 versions of a new song called The World Is Ours, tailored to different countries.

David Correy, a Brazilian-born, American-raised former X-Factor contestant sings the main song, with the help of Brazilian street band Monobloco. For the country-specific versions, he’s also accompanied by local artists. Malaysia gets a version of The World Is Ours that features a former Miss Malaysia, a pop star, and a Tamil musician alongside Correy. Tanzania’s version relies heavily on the R&B artist Lady Jaydee. Kenya gets rapper Octopizzo. And in America, the version you’re most likely to hear has Correy teamed with the singer Aloe Blacc. The Aloe Blacc version also appears on One Love, One Rhythm: The Official 2014 FiFA World Cup Album, which Sony Music Entertainment released in May. It’s another example of Coca-Cola’s ability to take one overarching marketing campaign—in this case, one song—and tweak it just enough to appeal to different audiences around the world.

It may be hard to tell in the U.S., but the World Cup is Coca-Cola’s biggest and broadest marketing campaign—much larger than even the Olympics. According to AdAge, Coke is running its World Cup campaign in 85 percent of its markets around the world, vs. the 50 percent of markets that carried promotions for the 2012 London Olympics. Coca-Cola is also one of the World Cup’s largest advertising partners. It’s one of eight advertising sponsors to spend, collectively, $600 million on Brazilian TV ads during the tournament. That positively dwarfs the Super Bowl, which according to Kantar Media raked in $292 million in 2013. Then again, the World Cup does go on for an entire month.

Suddath is a staff writer for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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