Client Success Story: Music Dealers Takes Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Worldwide 1004 words · 5 minute read

Well-known for its extensive artist services and creative music supervision, Music Dealers flexed its rights negotiation muscles for Coca-Cola this year, proving to be a more of a full-service music agency rather than simply a niche song provider.

In the fall of 2013, The Coca-Cola Company prepared for its “Share a Coke” global campaign for Summer 2014, a comprehensive project that included two ambitious goals: the worldwide use of its “Share a Coke with Bobby” spot and the launch of a new idea, “Say It With A Song.” As the brand’s global music partner, Coca-Cola tasked Music Dealers with the execution of both projects.

Coca-Cola “Share A Coke With Bobby”


As adorable dog Bobby races through the city in search of a personalized Coke bottle with his name on it, “That’s Not My Name” by British musical duo, The Ting Tings, follows his pursuit with its infectious beat.

In an effort to strengthen its connectivity with teens worldwide, Coca-Cola integrated music into the foundation of its “Share a Coke” campaign for Summer 2014 – a decision that required Music Dealers’ expertise and direction for the two bold projects.

Coca-Cola’s marketing team for the Central and Southern Europe region (CSE) approached Music Dealers with “Say it with a Song” in Fall 2013, an ambitious idea that aimed to connect with teens through music. The project would include the licensing of dozens of songs to be featured as lyrics on millions of Coca-Cola bottles and cans, in tandem with its “Share a Coke” campaign. “Say it with a Song” would also include the creation of a digital platform through which teens could communicate, using 15 video clips that each featured common phrases found in popular songs. Coke hoped to create a new language for teens, called “Emotisongs,” which would be a sonic adaptation of emoticons.

Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign celebrates togetherness, family and friendship, as demonstrated when Coke swapped its brand name with common first names on bottles and cans so consumers could “share a coke” with a friend. The “Share a Coke with Bobby” spot depicts a dog named Bobby who frantically searches for a Coke bottle with his name on it, while “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings aptly plays behind his pursuit. The commercial was so successful in initial markets, Coca-Cola wanted to use the song for its global “Share a Coke” campaign.

Client: Coca-Cola

Date: 6.2.14

Category: Famous Song Clearance (aka “Major Label Clearance”)

Artist: The Ting Tings 

Song: “That’s Not My Name”

The Challenge: Little Money, Little Time, and Lots To Do

Coca-Cola’s ambitious projects entailed several licensing hurdles that Music Dealers had to overcome in order to meet Coke’s Summer 2014 deadline and remain within the brand’s limited budget.

Coke had provided Music Dealers with a long, extensive target list of songs that spanned a large number of rights holders. Universal Music Group (UMG) had granted master rights to many of their songs and the publishing rights were scattered across a variety of songwriters and publishing companies. The primary challenge for both projects – “Share a Coke with Bobby” and “Say it with a Song” – was accommodating all of the client’s creative ideas within the established structure of major labels and publishing companies.

The Solution: Rights Negotiation and Savvy Know-How

With a thorough understanding of all music activity across the Coca-Cola system, Music Dealers rolled up its sleeves and set to work. Using aggressive negotiation tactics and applying its extensive experience in the licensing space, Music Dealers leveraged industry relationships and its advanced knowledge of music publishing to secure the appropriate rights for both projects.

For the CSE “Say it with a Song” project, Music Dealers developed terms that would be both applicable to and accepted by every publisher of the songs Coke wanted for its campaign. In order to secure digital rights for the songs that powered the “Say it with a Song” online platform, Music Dealers partnered with performance rights organization PRS to execute a pan-European agreement that covered a variety of popular songs from the PRS catalog. Led by Music Dealers Account Director Antony Demekhin, Music Dealers then worked directly with 13 different publishers and dozens of songwriters to structure deals that cleared publishing rights for the UMG songs.

As Coca-Cola wanted to use the song “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings in countries across the world, Music Dealers negotiated the option to expand their rights of the song to worldwide use. Directed by Music Dealers Account Supervisor Samantha Parvin, Music Dealers worked tirelessly with individual markets in the Coke system that also wanted to run the “Share a Coke with Bobby” spot. Once enough markets were established, Music Dealers extended the rights to worldwide use, which would save the Coke system several hundred thousand dollars over negotiating rights separately with each region or market.

The Result: 80+ Songs, 100+ Countries and $100,000+ Saved

By Summer 2014, Music Dealers successfully delivered Coke’s projects and cleared the necessary music rights on time. Music Dealers cleared over 80 songs for Coke’s “Say it with a Song” CSE campaign, the lyrics of which would be printed on over 400 million Coke bottles and cans in 23 countries. Through Music Dealers’ negotiation of worldwide rights of The Ting Tings’ track, “That’s Not My Name” for the “Share a Coke with Bobby” spot, Music Dealers cleared the song for use in 80 different countries. Between the two projects, Music Dealers cleared music in each of the 100+ countries, excluding the U.S., that is running the “Share a Coke” campaign this year.

Through its global music partnership with Coca-Cola, Music Dealers has developed an overarching view of all music activity in Coke’s global system. With this advantage, Music Dealers achieved the creative vision for the CSE “Say it with a Song” campaign within the brand’s budget and saved the system several hundred thousand dollars by negotiating worldwide use for “That’s Not My Name.”

And we hardly broke a sweat.

By: Sam Parvin & Zach Miller, Music Dealers