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Will Coke Studio work for the cola major?

Last updated on: May 9, 2011 13:50 IST

Will Coke Studio work for the cola major?

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Preeti Khicha in Mumbai

Coca-Cola is making a big song and dance about its bid to strike a chord with teenage customers.

The cola giant's announcement on Friday to bring in Coke Studio, music television series promoted by it, is a part of that initiative.

But will such a television series have a captive audience base in the country and help promote Coke's cause?

A media analyst at a leading brokerage firm in India says that in a country with a strong following of Bollywood music, the television property will have a niche audience.

In the past, independent labels offering indi-pop and fusion music have not survived and it depends on how well MTV and Coca Cola position the programme.

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Photographs: Reuters
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The head of a rival channel agrees. "The music at Coke Studio will cater to a more informed audience, and hence will not impact television ratings significantly. Even then, if the television property is extended into an on-ground initiative, it might help create a lot more buzz," says he.

MTV, which will air the show every week from June 17, is already considering it. "We hope to extend the television property to Coke Studio concerts in the future," says MTV Channel Head Aditya Swamy.

Coca Cola Trademark Senior Brand Manager Abhijit Datta says the association with such a music property will help the beverage brand gain better resonance with the teenage audience.

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"Teens are the future of our business. We need to inculcate the habit of consuming our beverage at an early age," says Datta.

"Through this association, our objective is not to tactfully drive sales in the next quarter but help strengthen the equity of the brand," he adds.

Given that teens as a segment forms a critical part of Coca Cola's spend, a significant part of the annual budget will be spent on Coke Studio.

Beyond the audience base of 130 million viewers, MTV will reach out to music lovers through social media like Facebook and Twitter.

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The Facebook India page "CokeStudioatMTV" went live this week and it already has a fan base of 2,000 users.

Coke Studio Pakistan also has a dedicated website where music lovers can watch previous episodes. The Indian version is also in the making and will be on the web soon.

But this is not all. MTV will also use the parent company Viacom 18's channels like Colors to promote the show, while Coca Cola will invest in special on-pack promotions and store displays to build visibility.

"We will advertise on the 600ml PET bottle and cans as these stock keeping units (SKUs) have seen momentum with the teen audience," says Datta.

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Leo Burnett which has the mandate to promote the television series in India is also rustling up some magical initiatives, but the company remains tight lipped.

MTV's Swamy says, "India is on the brink of a music revolution and lots of experiments are happening in both music and films. Going forward, newer formats of music will evolve, music festivals will gain in popularity and artists who are yet to make a break will find their way to the big screen."

Swamy believes, unlike other music shows the key differentiator here will be the absence of auditions, voting, or judging.

The artist line up for the hour long programme is in place. While Indian music bigwigs will feature in the first few episodes, lesser known artists will also share the screen.

 



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