Shalabee makes Maldivians' love for Coca-Cola global

Coca-Cola’s began its long history in May 1886 – exactly 131 years ago when Dr John S. Pemberton, a curious pharmacist from Atlanta, U.S., created a curious tasting soft drink that had the potential to be marketed and sold at soda fountains in his state.

The first Coca-Cola was initially sold for just 5 cents per glass in the U.S. Today, daily servings of Coca-Cola drinks around the world are estimated at a whopping USD1.9 billion. It is easily the most popular soft drink in the world.

Despite being around for generations and having a vibrant history, this popular drink only made its way to our tiny little island nation a mere 26 years ago. Maldivians, being predisposed to a fondness of sweet foods, naturally embraced this new carbonated drink and it quickly became the most popular drink in the country.

With the Coca-Cola craze, also came its creative advertisement. For the most part, we used the foreign ads that were created for the brand. We were familiar with the drinks famous slogans such as “Life tastes good” that was promoted in 2001, and the more recent “Open happiness”. Ever since the Coca-Cola Company was established in the Maldives, their advertisements have been unavoidable.

Coca-Cola slogans have always been humble and relatable. Their international campaigns never fail to impress either. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that the Coca-Cola Company in Maldives decided to hop on the creative advertisement bandwagon. An ad was created with local children singing, which also featured a public service announcement. This was only aired in Maldives.

This Ramadan, however, the first-ever Maldivian Idol runner-up Shalabee Ibrahim has taken the Maldivians’ love for Coca-Cola to the international arena. His lustrous voice is featured in a special Coca-Cola ad for Ramadan, with the heart-warming message about caring for one-another.

The ad was created under this year’s theme, “Give a little to those who give a lot.”

The global ad, which features Shalabee's voice, is in Hindi. However, a Dhivehi version of the song – “Hurihaa Ufaleh Hissaa Kurey” (loosely translates to “share all happiness"), written by Naseem Abdul Muhusin, a writer who works with local medias, is available for locals.

Maldivian singing sensation Shalabee’s voice will be heard in this Coca-Cola ad that will run globally throughout the holy month of Ramadan. This has earned him much-deserved commendation from the public, which was mostly displayed on social media. The Dhivehi-version of the song has been shared over a 100 times from Shalabee’s official Facebook page.

What’s even more impressive is that the song was entirely produced by local artists. The music and the production of the song was overseen by local recording studio “House of Music”, with the voice overs being recorded by Hassan Ali.

Shalabee had thanked the Coca-Cola Company for the opportunity on his Facebook page. Many of his fans had also congratulated him on his international recognition, and commented saying that they were proud to see a Maldivian representing such a reputable international brand.