UK United Kingdom

The new world of advertising is here, so listen on Spotify and have a Coke

The Australian launch of a joint venture campaign between soft drink behemoth Coca Cola with Swedish music streaming service Spotify and Universal Music, represents the new world of advertising. The “Share…

The future of advertising: Coca Cola have launched an Australian campaign as part of their joint venture with music streaming service, Spotify. Flickr/Sorosh

The Australian launch of a joint venture campaign between soft drink behemoth Coca Cola with Swedish music streaming service Spotify and Universal Music, represents the new world of advertising.

The “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign will see cans and bottles re-labelled with dates nominated by consumers, from 1938 to the present. By scanning a QR code or visiting a URL on the Coke packaging, customers will be able to stream fifty of the most popular songs from each year, selected from Universal Music’s artists back catalogue.

In April Coca Cola announced it had struck up a global partnership with Spotify, the Swedish music streaming service that gives subscribers who pay with cash, or by listening to ads, access to a huge amount of music from major and independent record labels.

Coca Cola will curate content and music for Spotify members, which according to Coke, “takes advantage of the existing Spotify relationship with Facebook and the Coca-Cola Facebook audience of over 40 million fans to create a social experience that will reach millions of interconnected consumers around the world”.

In the food-marketing industry, the opportunities this sort of tie-in represents, are huge. None of that pesky, “in your face”, disruptive broadcast approach that we all think we have the capacity to resist (we don’t), but a subtle, gentle association with brands that we love and use regularly, and “in moderation” we are told, are not bad for us.

This integration of brands, across all manner of platforms, is the future of advertising. Academics call it integrated marketing communications (IMC). Marketers and advertisers simply call it marketing and advertising.

But what it represents is a paradigm shift away from traditional conceptualisations of marketing, located within mainstream, traditional media, such as TV or newspapers, to a point where promotional messages are so prolific, they become a form of “cultural wallpaper” – it’s there, it has a (subtle) effect, but over time, we stop noticing it.

Whether the brand message is delivered via Spotify, Facebook, the sponsorship of a local sports club, visits from Gatorade ambassadors at your secondary school, gentle (or not so gentle) product placement in Masterchef, or even online games that don’t promote the food product, but promote the brand character (like this one using Freddo Frog), marketing is so much more than advertising; it plays an influential role in shaping our cultural norms and expectations, around all sorts of products, including the food and drinks that we buy and consume.

So, when it comes to food marketing, the number of channels used to deliver marketing messages and the constant exposure to promotional messages for junk food, both reflects and reinforces the power and legitimacy junk food marketing has come to occupy within our society.

As we become more and more culturally conditioned, it is no longer “a lot” of marketing material, it simply becomes the norm.

“So what?” you say, “It’s just food marketing. We don’t have to eat it.” Except that, in reality, the whole resistance thing is tricky enough when we know we’re being exposed to advertising; this “under the radar” approach is so gentle and incremental, that our normal capacity to reflect and evaluate is rendered virtually useless.

The argument that we should simply choose not to choose, is such an unsophisticated and naïve conceptualisation of decision-making, that (without us really noticing) marketers abandoned these traditional techniques more than a decade ago.

While TV programs such as Gruen Planet feed our desire to understand more about the advertising world, in reality, much of the traditional approaches to advertising that are examined on these programs are in their death-throes.

This new terrain is about synergy across a wide range of platforms, from creative broadcasting such as product placement on TV and in film, through to focused narrow casting, such as the Coke/Spotify/Universal joint venture; with the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

And all of these parts don’t operate in isolation, but build upon one other in such a subtle, complex and dynamic way we can’t see it happening, because we are a part of it.

Join the conversation

7 Comments sorted by

  1. Ian Donald Lowe

    Seeker of Truth

    Turn off, tune in (to the natural world) and drop out of the destructive and poisonous consumer society. Yes it's pervasive but no, you do not have to be a zombified consumption slave. That noisy, flickering box on the wall (or in the corner, you know, the one all the chairs in the room face) is full of lies and trickery, that music you listen to is nothing but an advertising jingle. The 'lifestyle' they sell you is unsustainable, un-fulfilling and in recent times, highly toxic. Break the chains, step outside the cave and see the world as it really is.

    1. Mister Anderson


      In reply to Ian Donald Lowe

      While I agree Ian, I think you may have misunderstood Spotifty. It's a brilliant service for people who love music (I for one hold music as highly as my much loved hiking trips), I like idea that you pay a few dollars to get rid of the advertising junk (advertising is like having my brain hit by a truck) and then have unlimited access to almost all of the music in the world - including some rather obscure and independent stuff (like my band). Forget the coke crap, this is a great application!

  2. Les Clarke

    logged in via Facebook

    Interesting that this should be a collaboration between a music service provider and major consumer brand as the same phenomenon has been occurring at music festivals for years… Subliminal but effective marketing that provides branded cups from which to drink whilst you watch your favourite bands.

    Synergy that sees 'indie' become the norm…

  3. Joey Squeak Hedrick

    logged in via Facebook

    You could always use Rdio. It's a subscription model similar to Spotify but actually has a much nicer interface with zero ads and a windows phone app which was a big thing for me personally. They probably don't have as many artists and tracks available to them as Spotify would but it's pretty damn good nonetheless.

  4. Michael Donniger

    logged in via Facebook

    What intrigues me is the way digital stores (iTunes for instance) direct me to the most popular items, as if I should automatically feel the need to follow the herd. I have no desire "to stream fifty of the most popular songs from each year, selected from Universal Music’s artists back catalogue." (Nor do I have a desire to drink coke.) What about the long tail marketing concept? My tastes are quite diverse and more esoteric and only occasionally go into popular culture

  5. Comment removed by moderator.