Started in Australia, Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign won a great success in 80 countries from 2011 to 2013. This multi-national campaign selects common first names, puts them on the label and aims to have people go out and find a bottle with their name on it, then share it with their friends. In Coke’s China market, when first hit difficulties in 2013, the campaign became probably the most inventive twist in the end. Co-creation with social media played an essential role in this success.
In China, first name could be any character or combination of 2-3 characters, making it impossible to select names beforehand and print them on the bottle. Given this barrier between western and eastern culture, Coke had to carefully modify the campaign.
“We found it is very popular among young consumers to use nicknames to refer to their friends and certain nicknames and compliments are very popular on key social media channels.” said Cissy Chu, former Senior I-Marketing Manager of Coca Cola China, when she introduced this campaign to me.
The “nickname” bridged the gap. Coca Cola tapped into China’s social media-savvy culture and dug out the most favourable buzzwords with common descriptions referring to stereotypes and particular demographic groups through big data research on social media. The company calls this packaging the “nickname bottle”. The buzzwords used on the bottles are all terms that refer to different stereotypes or certain groups of people, such as “Dreamer”, “Superstar”, “Geek”, “Bestie”, “Best Buddy”, “Meow”, “Sweetie”, “Happy-go-lucky”, “Foodie”. Once nickname bottle were promoted, Coke quickly reached out to young Chinese by speaking to them in their language. It helped the brand establish a strong bond with them and enable them to relate nicknames on the bottles to their friends and loved ones and share with them with actual fun. “We also developed a group testing APP for consumers to find out which group they belong to.” Cissy Chu introduced.
Consumers can also own a customized nickname bottle on Coke’s official Weibo (China equivalent of Facebook) page. They can choose the nicknames they like to be printed on the bottle, and their own names, then pay for extra delivery fee via Weibo’s online shopping channel. The first day, 300 bottles sold out in one hour. The campaign achieved the great social buzz never before. Within this 90 days campaign, over 1M retweet over Sina Weibo. The sales grew up 30% on the first month of campaign.
Lessons for Others
Co-creation on social media is an emerging model that brands can use to spur creativity; it allows organizations to proactively respond to changing attitudes and preferences. Knowing the preference of young consumers by social listening tool, Coca Cola China revised the product design and consistently chose a more innovative approach in the successful nickname bottle campaign.
“We well used social listening tools to find and analysis the contents which were generated by social media and got to know consumer insight from it. Such contents were used in our product (packaging) innovation and commercialization campaigns.” commented by Cissy Chu, former Senior I-Marketing Manager of Coca Cola China.
The Coca-Cola Company
Name of Organization Contact: David Brooks, President, Greater China and Korea Business Unit
Authored by: ChrisSong
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Unbottled Staff, (2014, Aug 4), IS YOUR NAME ON A COKE BOTTLE?, Retrieved from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/coca-cola-unbottled/is-your-name-on-a-coke-bottle-find-out-here/
Shanghai Daily, (2013, June 5), Coke Bottle’s buzzwords attract young, Retrieved from http://www.china.org.cn/china/2013-06/05/content_29030249.htm
STEVEN RAEBURN, (2013, JUNE 18), Coke’s first name campaign hits difficulties in China, Retrieved from http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/06/18/coke-s-first-name-campaign-hits-difficulties-china
Angela Doland. (2015, June 05), Coca-Cola Tries New twist of “Share a Coke” in China, Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/coca-cola-a-twist-share-a-coke-china/298884/
LI WOKE (China Daily), (2013, July 13), Coca-Cola seeks to connect with young customers, Retrieved from http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-07/13/content_16770143.htm
Zhuan Ti (China Daily), (2014, July 26), Company Special: China leads global increase as Coca-Cola gains share, Retrieved from http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-07/26/content_17932480.htm
WEIJING ZHU, (2013, June 7), Do you want a Coke with “Meow Planet” or “BFF”?, Retrieved from http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2013/06/do-you-want-a-coke-with-meow-planet-or-bff/
Sun Yuqiao, (2015, Apr 16), When Coke meets Chinese buzzwords, Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-coke-meets-chinese-buzz-words-sun-yuqiao
Sabrina, (2013, July 26), Case study: Coca Cola’s Weibo Marketing, Retrieved from http://www.chinainternetwatch.com/2623/case-study-coca-colas-weibo-marketing/
Matthew Mount, Marian Garcia Martinez, (2014), Social Media: A tool for open innovation, California management review. 09/2014; 56(4):124-143.