The inherent message of Jason Derulo’s latest hit “Colors” – Coca-Cola’s anthem for 2018 FIFA World Cup™, is a universal one: celebrate and be proud of what you represent, no matter where you come from.
To drive home that important message, Coca-Cola is partnering with emerging artists and superstars alike from around the globe to create localized versions of the song and embrace an international theme of inclusion and celebration in the months leading up to the FIFA World Cup.
“Colors” has been remixed thus far by artists from Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and the tournament’s host country, Russia – all of whom have put their own unique twist on the song without losing the powerful message within, helping to create a true international anthem that resonates no matter the language.
“The song becomes more authentic and more credible when local artists are involved, and you see that a country is proud of its local artists being put on a platform with Jason and the FIFA World Cup. It’s pretty awesome to see,” Ross continued. “Coca-Cola helps to uplift the world by creating real and positive moments of connection. Using the platform of the FIFA World Cup and music as a gateway, we feel this is a great opportunity for the brand to do exactly that.”
“Everyone is here to make something happen,” Derulo said. “I wrote this song, ‘Colors,’ and to watch it change and morph with different cultures, languages and creative energies is really crazy to watch. Everyone’s way of working is different than mine, so the feel of the song is different when others jump on it. It’s a creative explosion – and I couldn’t be happier.”
Here are some of the stories of how “Colors” became a global phenomenon:
With its tropical vibe, “Colors” seemed like a natural fit to be remixed to the soccer-mad audience in Latin America, and Coca-Cola found an ideal match in Maluma, a Colombian singer with appeal across the region.
“Soccer and music are the two most popular things in Latin America, in every country. and Maluma was a perfect fit for Coca-Cola and the song,” said Maria Muchinik, a Coca-Cola marketing manager based in Argentina. “It was kind of a dream of his. He was a soccer player growing up and had to decide between soccer and music. So, he was absolutely into the project and happy to be working with Jason to make it into a global thing.”
Unlike Latin America, which could have a unified song under one recording artist, creating a remix for Africa posed a different set of challenges thanks to the continent's sheer number of countries, languages and dialects.
To help account for Africa's diversity of voices and styles, Coca-Cola partnered with five acclaimed artists, who each created their own “Colors” remix: Y Kee Benda from Uganda; Lihza James from Mozambique; Sami Dan from Ethiopia; Diamond Platinumz from Tanzania/Kenya; and Cassper Nyovest from South Africa. All the artists had previously participated in Coke Studio Africa, a popular music TV show on the continent.
“We looked for a range of artists that would have the most impact, add real value to both the song and the campaign, and be a perfect fit for Coca-Cola and the FIFA World Cup,” said Monali Shah, head of content excellence, Coca-Cola Africa. “We chose artists that would bring immediate talkability and hype, as well as drive the different sounds from across the countries in Africa.”
The efforts have resulted in major media coverage, including a story in South Africa’s largest newspaper about the collaboration with Nyovest.
The small country nestled in Europe had several unique qualities that made it ideal for a remix. First, Coca-Cola sponsors an annual contest, MyCoke Music Soundcheck, that acts as a launching pad for up-and-coming Swiss acts. Second, the population speaks many different languages – mostly German, followed by French and Italian.
The Swiss remix of “Colors” amplifies the song’s message through a diverse mix of voices – hip-hop artist Ivorrie singing in German; pop singer Forma in French; and vocalist Charlie Roe in Italian. All are former MyCokeMusic contestants.
“Everybody loves the story,” said Robert Percze, senior sparkling brand manager, Coca-Cola Switzerland. “It doesn’t happen every day that a local artist is singing with a big star like Jason Derulo. They’ve been asked to go on a radio tour, where they give an interview, play the song and perform an acapella version.”
Switzerland qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, so fans are ready to cheer for their national team as one – something “Colors” captures perfectly.
“Not everyone living in a certain part of the country understands the language spoken in the other parts,” Percze said. “But as soon as the local part of the song kicks in, it feels like it is theirs. It’s different, but unified – all are Swiss, and all are rooting for the same country. It has a special local relevance.”
Another example of trying to tie the global to the local occurred in the Middle East, where, instead of selecting one artist to represent the entire region, several countries were tabbed to create their own remix of “Colors” – Moroccan singer Douzi, Egyptian vocalist Tamer Honsy, the duo of Aseel Omran & Lil Eazy from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan's Qurat-Ul-Ain Balouch, and Si Lemhaf from Tunisia.
“This is Saudi Arabia’s first FIFA World Cup since 2006, which is an exciting moment in itself. Combined with the remarkable wave of change we are witnessing in the country, we believe this is the perfect moment for celebration,” ElDessouky said. When it came to the process of selecting an artist, we wanted them to be representative of Saudi’s vision for the future, which is why we selected Aseel, a young, progressive and talented female singer who perfectly aligns with the message of change.”
In the host country of Russia, music is playing an important role in building excitement and anticipation for the tournament. The Russian version of “Colors” featuring Basta is filled with the festive, unifying spirit of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The single topped Russia’s streaming services in its first week of release, says Inna Rabotyagina, senior brand manager, Coca-Cola Russia.
“Collaboration with such a talented music artist as Basta is a great honor for us. Hundreds of thousands of fans from across Russia are in love with his music. Basta shares Coca-Cola’s love for football, and he is the FIFA World Cup Ambassador for the city of Rostov-on-Don.
He continues, "In the local version, Basta has found the way to convey the whole range of football fans’ feelings and emotions for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia,” adds Andrey Boyko, Coca-Cola brand manager, 2018 FIFA World Cup.
With the excitement leading up to the FIFA World Cup building, Coca-Cola isn’t resting on the success of its anthem, with Ross hoping to have more than 20 versions of the song to represent the world, including all regions across the world.
“It’s a great story about the fusion of music and football,” Ross said. “In the video, you see many countries and flags, but it’s deeper than that. It’s about representing who you are. Jason and his whole team were amazing and gave a great opportunity to our local artists from around the world. Coke simply provided the platform, and in so doing, some important proof points on what the brand stand for. Now it’s a vision coming to life and being appreciated by fans around the world.”