World AIDS Day Push Uses Music to Reach Millennials

Coca-Cola exec says 2014 is tipping point for prevention

Today marks the beginning of a month-long, music-led campaign leading up to World AIDS Day from Coca-Cola and (RED).

This is the third year that Coke has partnered with the organization to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in Africa. Joe Belliotti, head of music at Coca-Cola, stressed the importance of this year’s campaign because 2013 was the first year that more people had access to medication than those who were newly infected with HIV. In 2012, Coke built a social game to support World AIDS Day—which is Dec. 1—and last year used a dance-themed campaign.

"We’re stepping up greatly our efforts because this year is really the tipping point in the fight against AIDS, and we’re going to use the power of music to bring that message to a teenage millennial audience around the world," Belliotti said.

Millennial Music

The new push gives music fans access to four exclusive songs from Queen, Aloe Blacc, OneRepublic, Wyclef Jean and Avicii. Each week a new song will be available on iTunes. Proceeds from the song downloads will be donated to (RED).

The first song available this week is an unreleased track from Queen (featuring Freddie Mercury, who died of HIV in 1991) called, "Let Me in Your Heart Again."

Music has long been a staple of Coke’s marketing. As such, this campaign hopes to build off of the soda company’s previous work, including the iconic "I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke" spot. "We want to take that same spirit and apply it to the program that we’ve put together," Belliotti said.

In addition to the exclusive music, the soda giant is rolling out an online platform (powered by Omaze) that enables consumers to donate to the cause. There's also a contest, with prizes such as music festival tickets and VIP access to concerts.

Coke originally pledged $5 million to (RED) in 2011, adding an additional $2 million donation this year.

Beyond the music and online platform, Coke and (RED) will roll out ads in 40 countries that will appear online, in cinemas and outdoors. Marketing partners include Shazam, Vevo and iHeartRadio. "We’re really taking a very teen and millennial focus on how we’re activating this," Belliotti said.

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