About that song stuck in your head

July 17, 2010

Hardly a week has gone by since the World Cup ended and it yet to me it feels like an eternity. Yesterday at a party a Frenchie asked me how I felt about Italy leaving after the first round and the feelings of anger and disappointment towards my team came back veeeery slowly, I really had to dig around for them. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m really good at erasing upsetting things from my memory or whether it’s because I felt relatively indifferent to the outcome of the World Cup once all my favourite teams got kicked out. Probably a little bit of both.

While the details of the World Cup may be slipping my mind little by little and other exciting summer activities are taking its place, one thing is standing the test of time: the World Cup soundbites. And no, I’m not talking about the vuvuzelas (although the commercial below is pretty funny)

Ever got a song stuck in your head and had no idea where it came from? You know, that catchy, hummable song that just doesn’t want to leave but you have no clue how it even got there in the first place? Well, then you may be one of the many, many victims of sonic branding. Case in point: Coca-Cola’s World Cup anthem.

(Excerpts from the article via BrandChannel.com, my latest Internet discovery)

“Coca-Cola took a risk by choosing a tune by a relatively unknown artist — K’Naan, who wasborn in Somalia and grew up in Canada — as its official song and crown jewel of its $300 million 2010 FIFA campaign.

According to soundlounge CEO Ruth Simmons, “Coke has used a technique we call audio watermarking. This is a popular and well-known trick that has been around for centuries and used by composers and producers to weave a sound/motif into a piece of music … watermarking acts like an ‘earworm’, which gets inside our brains and becomes so compulsive that we go around humming it as we walk down the street and not understanding why. We effectively become living, walking, singing commercials for Coke.”

As for Coca-Cola, Emmanuel Seuge, its group director of worldwide sports and entertainment marketing, told Billboard: “We wanted a song that embodied our campaign. It needed to be upbeat, it needed to be uplifting, it needed to be an invitation for people to celebrate.”

“By sneaking the Coke melody into an otherwise musically unbranded song,” notes Simmons, “they’ve seen incredible success in the charts. In our opinion, it’s a much more intelligent form of branding than paying artists to name-drop brands in their lyrics.”

Indeed, Coca-Cola’s announcement wrapping up its 2010 World Cup campign notes that the anthem reached number one on music charts in 17 countries and generated more than 800,000 download purchases. The video versions of the single amassed more than 87 million views on YouTube in addition to being the centerpiece of Coca-Cola’s World Cup trophy tour.”

So basically… we cannot escape brands. Liking a song on tv may lead you to buy the product that has sponsored it. Nobody is safe!

Here is video explaining the Coca-Cola sonic branding strategy, watch it at your own risk!

Mmm, so thirsty now.

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