NewJeans Zero Single

NewJeans’ Team Up With Coca-Cola For Promotional Single ‘Zero’

It’s no secret to anyone, even those only casually familiar with K-pop that a huge part of the industry is built on brand partnerships. Whether it’s makeup, fashion houses, or food on any given day in a major South Korean city like Seoul, you will see an advertisement with famous idols on them. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that groups would team up with a company to release music for said brand. Riding high on their astronomical rise to success, NewJeans have teamed up with another powerhouse, Coca-Cola, to release the promotional single, “Zero.”

Led largely by skittering hip-hop beats, the track itself stays pretty much at the same level for the whole song. While other songs by NewJeans have had this approach of keeping things lowkey, able to still capture attention without going for bombastic choruses or beat drops, here the energy is a bit too frantic. The differing tempos of the girls’ vocals and the track are too jarringly different, it’s like the track is going to trip over itself. The vocal delivery of the members also feels unusually low and lacking of energy. A big part of what makes NewJeans stand out is their fantastic vocals, but with “Zero” it just doesn’t sound like their hearts are in it, which I guess I wouldn’t really expect from a song about soda.

While the verses of the song aren’t particularly memorable, at least it’s a tolerable listen. It’s the chorus, however, where they lost me. Sung over the melody of the nursery rhyme “Rose of Sharon Has Bloomed,” (Squid Game fans would recognize it as the “Red Light, Green Light” song), we hear the lines “Coca-Cola is tasty/ See you looking, catch it, here’s your Cola,” and that just repeats for the whole chorus. Look, I get that this is a promotion for Coca-Cola, but does it have to be so blatant? Especially when this song wasn’t just written to be a commercial jingle; it’s a single released on streaming services worldwide.

If there is one thing the K-pop industry has been extremely successful at, it is subliminal marketing through parasocial relationships and artists wearing certain brands, etc. While the discussion of the dangers and negatives of that business model can be talked about another day; the key thing here is the subtlety of these practices. “Zero” actually does, in parts of the song make soda references (“refreshing”, “pop”, etc) that aren’t so blatant, and that works in its favor. It’s when you get to the cult-like chanting that Cola-Cola tastes good in the chorus that the song makes it even clearer that this song has one job only; to promote soda, and not necessarily to be an engaging and interesting song.


Featured Image: HYBE Co., Ltd. (on behalf of ADOR)

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