Campaign: Music for RAIN
Client: The Coca-Cola Company
PR team: Paratus Communications
Timescale: March 2011
Coca-Cola has promised to provide at least two million Africans with clean water and sanitation by 2015 as part of its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN).
Earlier this year the company briefed Paratus Communications to promote the project and bring it to life through the launch of Music for RAIN.
The campaign was set to feature a fundraising soundtrack and videos with musicians Solange Knowles, Chris Taylor and Twin Shadow.
People could donate to the campaign via a 'donate to download' feature on the website MusicforRAIN.net.
- To use two pre-recorded videos as a catalyst to spark online discussions about water access issues in Africa
- To encourage online donations to three specific projects in Africa, with a donations target of $10,000
- To raise awareness of Coca-Cola's online CSR hub, LivePositivelyCollective.com
- To generate 30 pieces of online media coverage
- To generate 600,000 total views of the two videos.
Strategy and plan
The PR team wanted to use the soundtrack and videos to grab the public's attention and get people talking online about water access in Africa, prompting donations.
The starting point was a pre-campaign audit, to find out what would make people focus on water access, and where best to promote the campaign. Paratus looked at music bloggers, celebrity news sites and relevant online communities, as well as the more obvious media channels such as the Coca-Cola Twitter account and corporate websites.
The 'donate to download' microsite was created at MusicforRAIN.net, with information about the campaign and an easy way to donate in exchange for the exclusive track Kenya.
The story was initially given to a selection of independent music bloggers to create a buzz around the campaign before it was given to more mainstream media.
The artists involved in the project also shared the video and campaign with their followers via Twitter and Facebook, and continued to engage with fans by thanking them for donations.
YouTube was approached directly and agreed to feature the video on its channels on World Water Day. The videos were deliberately not uploaded to Coca-Cola branded YouTube pages, so the project retained the feeling that it was driven by musicians.
Measurement and evaluation
The campaign generated more than 300 pieces of coverage. This included pieces on MTV.com and in SPIN magazine. There were 900,000 views of the video on YouTube. It was mentioned on social media 127,000 times, including endorsement on Twitter by high profile musicians such as Mariah Carey.
In fewer than ten days during March, the campaign eclipsed its $10,000 donation target, raising $13,321.
Ed Gillespie, Co-founder, Futerra Sustainability Communications
"The project is a clever, integrated campaign that generated clear social media cut-through and strong online media coverage.
The innovative approach, the recruitment of celebrities, and the use of donations as a key measure and outcome has taken what could so easily have been a rather worthy initiative into a suitably 'sizzling' space.
However, the ratio of donations to views is still pretty low, and it would be interesting to analyse how successfully the key messages defined at the outset were translated into the coverage.
It's also hard to say what simple donations in the absence of behaviour change or action might achieve in tandem with awareness raising.
That said, there is clearly potential to maintain the momentum of this conversation, and it would be fascinating to see what Coca-Cola plans to do next.
Therein lies the proof of the pudding - how has the money raised been spent, how will that impact be shared, and will Coca-Cola make changes to its own activities to reinforce the comms?"