ATLANTA — Tens of thousands of Coca-Cola employees raised a ceremonial Coke bottle in celebration of its 125th birthday at Centennial Olympic Park on May 7 along with superstar Ne-Yo, Kelly Clarkson, Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol” and pop sensation Natasha Bedingfield.
Muhtar Kent, the CEO of the world’s most recognizable corporate brand, got things revved up under a scorching sun when he summoned Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Seacrest to toss back the sizzling liquid. Moments later, the stage also sizzled with the music idols, all of whom performed on the largest stage ever built at the downtown park.
Seacrest, a walking conglomerate in his own right, took time to bestow Mother’s Day love on his mom, then set up the atmosphere not unlike his weekly reign on “American Idol.”
Ne-Yo, who’s fifth album is about ready to drop soon, said Coca-Cola soft drinks were the difference between a reprieve from damning dehydration and shriveling up like a raisin in hostile Las Vegas summers.
“I was born in Arkansas, but I was raised in Vegas. And anyone can tell you that Vegas is one of the hottest places on the planet. So, a Coca-Cola becomes a lifesaver after a while,” he says.
“So, shout out to Coke for making sure that I didn’t pass the hell out a few different times living in Vegas. Coca-Cola has always been good to me. I’m a personal friend of Coca-Cola, so they asked me to come down. So, I’m here.”
And then he ripped it. Unfurling a variety of eye-popping moves while liberally sprinkling in some vintage Michael Jackson and Prince, Ne-Yo gave the throngs of women a reason to sweat other than the sun.