There will always be a certain irony in cigarette companies sponsoring tennis tournaments or purveyors of sugar water sponsoring the Olympics — especially when “Americans are drinking themselves fat,” in the words of New York Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
It’s not easy to win the Olympics when you’re fat.
Once you get past that cognitive dissonance, Coca-Cola’s approach to the Olympics with its My Beatmaker App is actually pretty neat, and incorporates actual Olympians in a way that makes sense. The company’s unique advertising campaign utilizes producer Mark Ronson; chart-topping dubsteb/R&B British singer Katy B; and the sounds of five Olympic athletes doing their thing. The web app is fairly disappointing, but the mobile app shines.
First, for a song entitled “Anywhere In The World,” Ronson recorded the athletes hard at work in their respective sports — sprinting, archery, table tennis, 110m hurdles, and Taekwondo. Then, he remixed the sounds into an infectious pop anthem with Katy B on lead vocals. There will eventually be an accompanying music video, which from the look of the clips and teasers, will feature Ronson conducting a plethora of athletes jumping, shooting arrows, running, and so on while Katy B sings to an audience of screaming, Coca Cola-chugging fans.
Along side this sonic earworm, Coca-Cola launched a mobile app and a web app that allow people to remix the song and its sounds into fairly catchy results.
We were pleasantly surprised that the free My Beat Maker mobile app (for iPhone or Android, pictured right) succeeds in being a fun and engaging. It comes with a range of sounds, samples and melodic parts from “Anywhere In The World,” all of which can be remixed and triggered by the user’s movements via the smartphone’s accelerometer and tilt sensor. One has to move and groove with the phone to find sounds and variations they like. The app includes a variety of effects, which you can record and then layer atop each other to create hooks and beats. And of course, you can upload your creation to Facebook for your friends to enjoy.
The icing on the cake: You can share your song or loop to a global database of tracks produced by people “all over the world.” It’s nice to see Coca- Cola promoting the idea of an interconnected world, which is sort of what the Olympics are all about, alongside the competition aspect.
However, compared to the mobile app, the web version (pictured left) is a big disappointment. You choose a sport and a musical style, then the app mixes the two into a remix over “Anywhere In The World,” alongside segments from the music video. The concept sounds like it could be fun, but it is lacking in a number of ways. For starters, it doesn’t include many sports or musical styles, so there are only a few combinations to play around with. On top of that, the resulting amalgamations sound mushy and poorly-produced.
The app offers that if you don’t like something, you should try a different combination, but none of them sounded good to our ears. If you beg to differ, you can share your “creation” with the world, as with the mobile app. We know that web browsers lack accelerometers and tilt sensors, but with a few more ways to tweak the music, this could be a more effective interactive advertisement.
While parts of Coca Cola’s Olympic ad campaign fall flat, it succeeded in producing a cool uniquely composed pop song (not many songs have a ping pong player has a musician) and an surprisingly addictive mobile app — and for that, it deserves a pat on the back for breaking the mold of the usual commercials. It’ll be interesting to see if other advertisers follow this initiative, because Coca-Cola has shown that this approach can work pretty well, to an extent.