Coke Studio Africa in Nairobi, Kenya is the focus of ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ this week


On this week’s, ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’, host Eleni Giokos reports from Nairobi, Kenya, to examine a new creative venture by Coca-Cola, a televised music show called Coke Studio Africa.

Airing across 25 African countries on radio and online, Coke Studio Africa offers a platform for upcoming African artists to work alongside established international artists to promote their music through live performances.

Giokos goes behind-the-scenes at Coke Studio, to examine how successful the initiative has been both for artists and to understand why Coca Cola has attached its brand to the project.

‘Marketplace Africa’ speaks to Monali Shah, Integrated Marketing Director at Coke Studios, who outlines why the project has expanded into Africa: “It’s really important to connect with consumers for a brand like ours, or for any brand. When you look at Africa as a continent, the average age is about 18 years. Music is such a key passion in our local communities, amongst consumers, amongst African people.”

The Coke Studio project was established in 2007, originally founded in Brazil. Since then, the concept has expanded to Pakistan, India and into the Middle East, with the African version originating in 2013.

Giokos speaks to Dela Maranga, a participant in season one of Coke Studio Africa, who explains the importance of the platform to upcoming musicians: “Coke Studio gave me a really good platform. For me to be on a stage where the whole of Africa and probably the United States, where people can see my music was a big, big, big deal for me. It was crazy.”

The programme hears how the expansion of the project in Africa has allowed artists to perform alongside the likes of American R&B singer, Trey Songz as well as generating significant brand awareness for one of the world’s most popular companies across the continent.

Thebe Ikalafeng, the founder of Brand Africa outlines Coca Cola’s marketing strategy to Giokos: “If Coke doesn’t spend the money, Pepsi will take the consumers… The consumers own the brands and they own them in their own private worlds. On their phone, on their laptop… Brands have realised now that they cannot anymore spend money on one big television ad and hope to connect with the consumer.”

By utilising a marketing strategy directed towards today’s consumer, Giokos asks Shah whether the brand are looking to monetise the initiative or expand the project further by establishing concerts across the continent.

Shah outlines the future strategy of Coke Studios Africa to the programme: “I don’t think our key objective is to monetise it. We would look at concerts as part of our marketing campaign for Coke Studio Africa… The whole idea is to make sure everyone listens to Coke Studio; everyone has access to African music. So, that’s why we make sure that it’s distributed across in whichever way we can without monetising it.”

Whilst artists participating in Coke Studios Africa maintain the rights to their original music, for many upcoming African musicians, the chance to engage with international acts and participate in the show the project remains an invaluable opportunity.

Maranga explains to ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’: “We’re seeing a lot of African influences and a lot of music out there… That was a big eye opener for me. We’re not just in our own bubble here.”

(‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ airs from Friday 24 March till Monday 27 March at 0515 EAT and 2045 EAT at 1815 EAT on CNN International).