Peace Dialogue: Coke Studio Pakistan

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Producer Rohail Hyatt in conversation with leading Pakistani sufi musician, Saieen Zahoor. Photo © courtesy Coke Studio Pakistan

In 2008, The Coca-Cola Company recognized a timely opportunity to invest in Pakistan, through its sponsorship of Coke Studioestablishing a stand out example of corporate peace. The investment-turned-cultural institution innovated by local producer Rohail Hyatt is a live fusion of diverse musical influences with the stated mission of; ‘providing a platform that bridges barriers, celebrates diversity, encourages unity and instills a sense of Pakistani pride.’[i] Following critical acclaim in Pakistan, Coke Studio amassed an unprecedented following in India, creating demand for its own localized series, and inspired a growing international franchise, of which Forbes remarked—‘Coke Studio has broken geo-political boundaries.’[ii] Aiming to inspire economic activity, employment and inclusion, Coca-Cola intends to make Pakistan a $1billion investment destination for Coca-Cola International by 2020.[iii] This case study evaluates Coca-Cola’s leading strategic social investment against the UN Global Compact, to demonstrate the implications of strengthening business engagement, to further advance peace and sustainable development. The paper concludes that sustaining the Coke Studio effect can promote a culture of peace, build economic and social resilience, and project a softer image of Pakistan—which the country desperately needs to prosper. Full text

“Living in Pakistan and being Pakistani in this day and age, there’s very little positive news coming out about us, especially in the Western media… I’m very intrigued by the response we’re getting outside of Pakistan, the massive amount of feedback coming in from all parts of the world. Coke Studio represents a great, softer image of Pakistan that’s going out there and people are happy about it … we’re hungry for it.”
Rohail Hyatt, Producer Coke Studio Pakistan

[i] See Khan, R., cited in Coke Studio Pakistan official website, online at http://www.cokestudio.com.pk

[ii] See Sanjay, M. (2011) “Coke studio brings people together,” Forbes India, 17 June, online at http://forbesindia.com/article/recliner/coke-studio-brings-people-together/26072/1

[iii] See Farooq, T. (2012) “Why Coca Cola is investing another $248m in Pakistan,” 10 November, online at http://tribune.com.pk/story/463423/beverages-why-coca-cola-is-investing-another-248m-in-pakistan/

 

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