Coca-Cola joins forces with Apple in iTunes drive

LONDON - Coca-Cola is to team up with Apple for a substantial iTunes promotional initiative as part of the launch strategy for its calorie-free Coke Zero brand.

The soft-drinks firm is negotiating a deal with Apple that will see Coca-Cola-sponsored content appear on iTunes, and its consumers offered iTunes discounts.

The deal follows the closure of download site Mycokemusic last week. The site, which launched in 2004, featured more than 250,000 songs, but music files downloaded from it were not compatible with Apple's iPod.

Music has been one of the key battlegrounds between Coca-Cola and arch-rival Pepsi, and insiders believe the iTunes tie-up could help Coca-Cola maintain its edge in the competitive UK soft-drinks market.

Last summer, Pepsi launched a 'Pepsi Max Downloaded' initiative. An on-pack promotion on 100m Pepsi packs offered consumers the chance to meet stars including Natasha Bedingfield, Ms Dynamite, Westlife, Girls Aloud and McFly.

Pepsi secured a similar deal to Coca-Cola with Apple in the US in 2004, with a deal to distribute 1m songs through Apple's iTunes online music store.

In the US, Coca-Cola already runs its own branded music and entertainment website Stageside.tv.

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