Coke to teach the world to sing again with Spotify – do we really want our music chosen by a fizzy drink?

They think big at Coca-Cola these days, trying to appropriate ‘happiness,’ the theme of its current campaign, and now it’s teaming with music service Spotify to offer free music on its Facebook page.

This, in turn, tunes in with a whole series of music events at the forthcoming London Olympics featuring various performers including UK rapper Dizzee Rascal.

Should Coke’s attempt to be all things (or most of the things people like) to all people be admired or is it an attempt to stretch the brand too far?

Coke is already under fire for its aggressive sponsorship of the Games, critics pointing out that two of the biggest sponsors (the other being McDonald’s) are hardly known for their contribution to health, despite fairly recent additions like zero calory drinks and, in the case of McDonald’s, slightly healthier Happy Meals.

Coke moving in to music events provides its many critics the perfect opportunity to protest its ubiquity. It will also provide further ammunition for people who think that the world’s biggest brands are getting too big for their boots – moving away from paid-for media (we all know what an ad is and accept or reject what it’s saying on that basis) and seeking to influence ‘consumers’ in all sorts of sneaky ways, by controlling their social media options for example.

Coke would no doubt say (if it recognised the question) that if it didn’t do this someone else (Pepsi) would. But being first isn’t always a benefit, especially when (as in the case of the London Olympics) the big story is not the competition itself but the way it’s been hijacked by big brands.

You May Also Like

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.