I was watching 4od last week and, during the ad break, was a little thrown when a coke bottle with my own name on it popped up on the screen. “Share a Coke with Nisha”.
I’m normally one to be a little suspicious of personalised advertising – How do they know my name? What gremlins have access to my computer? How do they know I’ll click through an image advertising mint flavoured m&ms? etc…
This time, though, the pure shock of seeing my name on a coke bottle – something I’ve never seen before, or thought would be a possibility given my name is “Nisha”, although I am, as millions of others are, of course aware of the much lauded Share-a-coke campaign – prompted a smile and mental note to write a blog post about it.
But that’s not all – the smile widened further when the actual ad kicked in, along with the protagonist dog looking for a coke bottle featuring his own name, and the accompanying soundtrack of “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings.
As someone who’s as frequently referred to as “Michelle”, “Lisa”, “Misha” and numerous other more ridiculous variations thanks to the folks at a coffee chain who shall remain nameless – I empathise with Bobby and The Ting Tings, and am delighted with the picture of my actual name on a coke bottle.
Which brings me to the crux of this article: Lyrics – they matter.
Sometimes a little subtlety is required – I wouldn’t necessarily play Coldplay’s “Yellow” every time a scene features something yellow (ignoring the intended meaning of the song here).
Sometimes, the main lyrical themes of the song might seem to fit perfectly, but if you listen a little more closely, the song is actually saying the exact opposite of something you want to say – I recently came across a song by Emily Wells called “The Passenger”, which starts:
“I’m a passenger, I’m a passenger … give me the keys I wanna drive”
Car commercial, right? Only listen a little further and it continues:
“I’m a passenger, I’m a passenger, if you give me the keys you know I won’t survive.”
Maybe not a perfect fit then.
Other times, the lyrics are spot on – and this share-a-coke campaign is one of those times. It’s by no means subtle, or nuanced in any way, it’s an exact narrative, and it’s a fun narrative.
In my mind, M&C Saatchi had the song in mind first, and then worked up the story for the advert to fit with it.