Ajram likely to remain Coke's brand ambassador for a long time

Nancy Ajram joins the beverage brand's new global marketing campaign. (AFP)

Lebanese superstar Nancy Ajram will remain Coca-Cola's brand ambassador for a long time, said company officials at the launch of a new advertising campaign in the region.

Already the face for Coca-Cola for the past four years, Ajram joins the beverage brand's new global marketing campaign: "Open Happiness". Music will play a central role in the campaign.

In the Middle East, Eftah Tefrah, a song by Ajram will join an international "Global Happiness" music repertoire featuring the combined talents of Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo, Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy, Brendon Urie from Panic at the Disco, Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes and Grammy-nominated Janelle Monae.

"Open Happiness" is an evolution of the "Coke Side of Life", a campaign that featured award-winning commercials such as "Video Game", "Happiness Factory", and "It's Mine" and used as the primary marketing platform in more than 200 countries around the world where Coca-Cola is sold.

Moataz Abdel Rahman, Marketing Manager for Coca-Cola ME, said: "We are inviting people to tap into the Coke way of life – being optimistic and happy."

The campaign will include new points of sale, promotions, outdoor and print advertising, digital and music component. Coca Cola refused to reveal the investment in the new campaign and refrained from giving any figures on Ajram's paycheck.

However, Rahman said Coca-Cola will focus more on the Middle East due to its huge young population.

The idea for the new campaign originated from Weiden+Kennedy, a global agency in Amsterdam and the songs were written by local artists in each region. Ajram's song, not translated from the English version, was developed by the singer, her manager, the Coca-Cola team and written by Mustafa Kamar.

Rahman said: "China and India, in addition to this region, have huge potential for growth. Unlike the European market, which has been flat for the past four years, the growth in these areas will imply growth in marketing budgets of advertisers." Coke did not reduce its global marketing budget, said Rahman. "We are continuing to invest and recruit."

"Ajram is a great Arab singer, who has topped charts for the past four years and is continuously producing hit songs. We are using her to impersonate the spirit of the brand."

However, Ajram is not the sole property of Coca-Cola. With brand ambassadors becoming more popular in the Middle East, Ajram also represents a Damas jewellery collection called "Farfasha" and is currently promoting a Sony Ericsson phone.

Rahman said new media will be a part of the Coke's marketing strategies and many ideas are in discussion for 2010. "There is a Coke Facebook group created by two fans, attracting a huge traffic. But social media is a double-edge sword. We want to be seen as the cool brand, rather than the rebel brand, therefore we have to be careful when talking to teenagers."

Along with the new campaign, Coca-Cola will be sponsoring sports events in the region including the Fifa Club World Championship hosted by Abu Dhabi in December 2009.


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