Now ‘Coke is it’ on the London Underground

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Ah, those London buskers: penniless music students sawing away at Vivaldi or earnest lads thrashing out Dylan classics as commuters throng down packed subway tunnels like so many frenetic gerbils.

Now, thanks to an arrangement between the Coca Cola Co. and the London Underground, a new but familiar offering may fill their ears as the holiday season approaches: a Coke jingle! So we learn from an article in Advertising Age.


‘Coca-Cola has signed up buskers to sing its familiar festive jingle ‘Holidays Are Coming’ to a captive audience of the London Underground’s 3.5 million daily Tube riders,’ the article says. ‘In a deal with the London Underground, Coca-Cola will sponsor the licensed busking scheme in the run-up to Christmas. Singers and musicians at stations around the network will be given sheet music or CDs so that they can perform the official holiday song.’

Buskers won’t be forced to sing the song, the article goes on to explain. But ‘incentives’ will be offered. And you never know, maybe commuters would pay the buskers not to play the tune: ‘Please! Here’s a quid! ‘The Little Drummer Boy,’ anything, I’m bloody begging you....’

The song, should you not recall, is rich with the seasonally appropriate refrain ‘Holidays are coming, holidays are coming, holidays are coming, holidays are coming’ and also contains the phrases ‘ ‘Tis the season, it’s always the real thing’ and ‘Holidays are coming, always Coca Cola.’


Buskers aren’t universally happy with the idea, apparently. In an article in the London Evening Standard, 47-year-old jazz guitarist Michael Ball, a veteran busker, is quoted as saying, ‘Not in a million years will I play some Coke jingle.... What a daft idea.’

--Rosie Mestel