Coke teams up with Marshmello for limited-edition flavor

Dive Brief:

  • Coca-Cola will release a limited-edition flavor in July that was created in collaboration with Grammy-nominated artist Marshmello, according to a press release. The new flavor — which introduces strawberry to watermelon to the Coke flavor — marks the first time The Coca-Cola Company has co-created a beverage with an artist.
  • Regular and zero-sugar options of Marshmello’s Limited-Edition Coca-Cola will be released in distinctive black-and-white cans. To support the drop, a Twitch activation will give fans the chance to control Marshmello and gain access to “metamerch” by Zepeto.
  • The release is the latest in a string of projects to come out of the Coca-Cola Creations platform, which seeks to not only create unique, limited flavors, but also position The Coca-Cola Company as a lifestyle brand through merchandise and virtual experiences.

Dive Insight:

Partnering with a celebrity feels like a natural progression of the Coca-Cola Creations platform following the introduction of the first two flavors to come out of the project and the hype they generated.

The previous iterations — Starlight and Byte — similarly attempted to capitalize on popular culture. Starlight was intended to capitalize on the hype around private space exploration while Byte tried to invoke curiosity about the metaverse and what a truly connected internet could be like. The collaboration with Marshmello may prove that not only can Coca-Cola Creations capitalize on hype, but it can create it. The launch of the drink also serves to promote the electronic dance music artist’s new song “Numb.”

“The novelty and unexpectedness of these innovations are driving curiosity and inviting people to engage with the brand,” said Oana Vlad, senior director, global strategy, The Coca-Cola Company, citing a spike in social media conversation, earned media coverage and Internet search traffic in a press release. “We’re also seeing that taking a more experiential route with our marketing through digital experiences, licensing partnerships and creative collaborations is a meaningful and fresh way to reach younger consumers.”

Marshmello, whose real name is Christopher Comstock, currently has over 43 million monthly listeners on Spotify. His sleek, white marshmallow inspired helmet is widely recognized. Its design is also inline with Coca-Cola Creation’s branding, which is overwhelmingly futuristic and clean. 

The Twitch activation is also inline with previous initiatives by the company to promote other limited-edition flavors. To promote Byte, Coke unveiled a Fortnite island known as Pixel Point. Those who purchased a Byte product were able to scan it and unlock a mini game. For the Marshmello collaboration, a scannable QR code will link to the Coca-Cola Creations hub where visitors can create their own digital art while listening to “Numb.” 

Coke plans on releasing more limited edition flavors throughout the year. The unusual flavors directed at younger people help to position the 130 year old company as innovative. This is especially important as brands fight for the loyalty and interest of younger consumers.