a Coke and a Song
Memories of the Phonograph
The "Canned Music" Coke
2016 Advertising campaign "Share a Coke and a Song" by Doug
For decades a popular culture practice
for couples, friends or families has been to designate a song as an
"Our Song" or an
"Our Tune" when that song has a special memory associated
with an event, a place or a time.
Crosley Radio-Phonograph Ad, 1945
In 2016, Coca-Cola implemented a marketing
campaign based on the premise that music strikes emotional chords
and is often part of special moments. The promotional idea was to
stamp lyrics from popular songs on its Coke cans and set "the
summer to music" with the lyrics on those cans inspiring and
creating special moments for those who share a Coke.
"Song lyrics strike
an emotional chord in people, capturing what we are feeling while
helping us express what we want to say,” said Joe Belliotti, head
of global music marketing at Coca-Cola North America. (1)
"We’re setting the
summer to music to inspire and connect fans through the special moments
that are created when they share a Coke," he added.
In the world of advertising,
of course, music is used all the time to promote products and make
associations with lyrics and songs.
As a Friend of the Phonograph,
however, I see this more as an attempt to create a pseudo 'Our Song'
event with Coke's calculation going something like this: 1 Share a
Coke with someone, + 2 Read song lyrics line on the Coke can, + 3
Feel the emotional chord from the lyrics, + 4 Say something that captures
what you are feeling since the song is "capturing what we are
feeling while helping us express what we want to say, = Grand Total
"a special moment."
Can Coke actually create
an "Our Song" moment. I don't think so. I think the stamping
of lyrics of music on cans of Coke, however, does add new meaning
to what O. Henry and John Phillip Sousa called "canned
In O. Henry's 1904 story
"The Phonograph and the
Graft" "canned music" was the basis for the planned
graft of going to South America to take advantage of
the "Latins". And why would the "Latins" be such
an easy sell? Because, as Henry Horsecollar explains, they possess
the "artistic temperament...yearn for music, color and gaiety,"
give their "wampum" to the "hand-organ man" and
will easily give their money to purchase phonographs and "canned
Can an advertising campaign
to "share a Coke and a Song' make memorable moments for Coke
Does a wedding become more
meaningful if is also includes sharing a coke?
The answer from Coke to
both questions is apparently yes because the "Coke and
a Song" a.k.a. "Lyrics on a Coke Can" campaign is another
iteration from Coke's advertising playbook for how to "Share
a Coke and Share the Magic" and "Make Every Moment Memorable"
with a Coke.
Adding song lyrics to Coke
cans and customizing Coke bottle labels are chapters in Coke's Advertising
Book. If O. Henry was the author of that book would he have named
it "Coke and the Graft"?
Coke is a consumer product
and selling Coke is its business. Music is part of that 'sell' and
Coke's advertising will use whatever it thinks will "Make Every
Moment Memorable" with a Coke.
So it's business as usual.
Advertising and Coke.
"It's the Real Thing:
Canned music - Share a Coke and
have a Special Moment Connection."
Custom Coke Bottles, 2020
Note: I first read about this advertising
campaign "Share a Coke and a Song" as it was reported by
Rebecca Stewart in "The Drum" March 31, 2016.