Any company that decides to borrow Hatsune Miku’s branding power are usually met with the idol’s vast audiences, along with anyone that finds a dancing twin-tailed virtual diva worth watching. Say what you want about the Domino’s and car ads, they generated a ton of talk. Georgia Emerald coffee, a brand that is under the ownership of Coca-Cola and distributed in East/South Asian, is taking that approach with one smart twist – a Deco*27 written song. Get ready for cuteness with Heart a la Mode, an uncharacteristically cheerful song with its own Miku outfit model dancing to go with it.
Since Georgia cans of coffee are mostly marketed towards Japanese fans, making Miku out to become a “gimmick” is pointless due to her ubiquitous popularity. Instead, we are treated with this adorable song Heart a la Mode that combines a pleasant TV jingle that is cute enough to forget it’s part of a can promotional campaign. Consumers not only get song downloads from Deco*27, but also other producers along with AhR digital model of Miku to perform dances on the Andriod. Fans can simply buy the can and snap the QR code for online goodies.
Heart a la Mode showcases a Miku model with a muted yellow themed- glasses and wrist scrunchie matching a warm green put-together top and pants outfit. I find its simplicity yet pop of colors very appealing, and it matches the song’s mood completely. You can pick out the small details like the yellow trim and belt that reveal the thought behind the seemingly effortless coordination. The campaign allows you to download the model to set to dance motions on your devices.
Deco*27 is of course, well-known for his huge arsenal of hard-hitting fan favorites set to a band and performed at concerts. With all of his latest popular rock and electronic-sounding releases, listening to Heart a la Mode for the first time might confuse even long-time fans of Deco*27 (I almost thought they had meant Honeyworks instead). It’s not because Deco*27 doesn’t have a bunch of upbeat songs (Ai Kotoba.), but that Heart a la Mode sounds very…country? Take a listen:
Update: Since I’ve written this, they released the new animated PV above (here is the niconico subbed ver), and the previous MMD video cannot be found so the review might be a bit confusing.
There’s the guitar and some fun harmonica, but the hand-clapping beat and is very natural in comparison to previous songs. The song makes you want to skip to it down the street. Basically, it gives you a similar lovey-dovey feel of Ai Kotoba without the electronic beat. Heart a la Mode also has a different tone it expresses through its lyrics. Ai Kotoba is about giving sincere thanks and gives the impression that the couple has been together for a while, but in Heart a la Mode, the couple is new and the love is fresh and carefree.
Miku starts off singing silly snippets of their morning date, pairing off the wake-up coffee with the bittersweet feelings of love. We get to hear some more of DECO*27’s lyrical rhymes like “ariewanai / gomennasai” that is echoed throughout with different rhymes of the same sound. Although the lyrics are the usual fare of being in love, wanting to tell that person, and yet being unable to, it’s paced with the story of their day together. Finally, when Miku is panicking unable to get the words out, the boy smiles and kisses her first. In in a sweet climax of the song, Miku turns the last chorus lines about her feelings into a confession and concludes it with a surprise “I finally said it!”
What remains true to form to DECO*27 is his wonderful spicing up of the song with a few offbeats and flawless tuning of Miku’s voice. The background “Yeah yeah Oh oh oh”s complement the main melody she sings and replace any heavy instrumental use.
What livens up Miku’s singing is also the MMD choreography they devised that gets Miku’s physics down pat. Her claps, arm pumps, and stride have a great quality of energy while her gestures are appropriately shy in accompaniment with the song. Although both the song and dance are repetitive, they loop in sync to the story. There are moments where they cut to shots of Miku as if she was actually acting in a PV. Close ups, slow motion, and demure camera pans serve to show off the model.
There are only two background shots: one with what looks like a countryside patio with a wooden outdoor furniture and not-as rendered trees, and one at night with the lanterns on. The lanterns themselves look suspiciously like fat coffee cans, but apart from that there’s little overt marketing. Since the purpose of the PV is not so much a very involved stage as it is simply a demonstration and promotion of the free model, the bare bones of the PV work.
The only criticism I can really find for this is that Miku’s modeling was shaded a more pasty white along with the golden brown hues of the generic background. Additionally, Miku’s model motion was never set to actually move her mouth. While it would be cuter but not necessary for her to sing along to the song, they might have chosen any sort of expression beyond the rather creepy smile she has.
I think the fact that Heart a la Mode needs little unpacking for someone to enjoy the song is its strong point. Sure, the elaborate and layered PVs DECO*27 produces back up his fame, but the wide appeal of writing a cute song that succeeds at everything it attempts to is just what the Georgia coffee campaign aims for. At any rate, I’m in love with this song and I don’t think there’s any more to ask from it.
-Cute and simple PV animation and model.
-Quality tuning+song with sweet lyrics that go with the dance.
-Smart campaign perks (and apparently good canned coffee).
-Miku’s skin and unchanging smile…