There is nothing like a cold, refreshing beverage on a hot summer day. But what’s even better is sharing a drink over a conversation with a friend, colleague or a hot date you’ve met for the first time.
According to this Coca-Cola Australia video, the company’s research data presented an opportunity to re-engage with a generation that has a strong online presence and has grown up never tasting their most iconic product. In fact, the video shares that 50% of teens and young adults (also known as millennials) had never tried ‘Coke.’ They saw this gap and needed to come up with a strategy to change that.
They knew their target market was heavily involved in social media and would share pretty much anything online. The #ShareACoke campaign created online conversations and connected people over a simple product as a drink.
When the campaign came to Canada, I remember being one of those crazy millennials rummaging around the drink coolers at the store to find my name. It was very rare to hear that a multi-billion dollar company printed my unique name on one of their products and I wanted my hands on one. Unfortunately, I never found a ‘Kylie’ bottle. *Whomp. Whomp.* But, when I was on the hunt, you’d be certain that I shared it over social media, hoping I wasn’t alone or that someone had spotted my name and would send me to the store location. If I had been successful, I would, of course, I shared my victory on every social media channel I had, probably multiple times.
The Australia division of Coca-Cola kicked-off this worldwide frenzy. This campaign leveraged many teams of people, but the group that stands out, from an outsiders perspective, is their product development and design people and their social media team. In the end, after countless design ideas and brainstorming session, sticking with the classic Coca-Cola design, and not swaying from the original too much, was the right decision.
The winning equation: a slight tweak of a familiar brand to make it cool and hip for their designated audience to have + a strong social media campaign and hashtag = the purchase of millions of personalized drink bottles and cans used to create and share stories, selfies and special moments online.
Many years later, the Coke campaign continues to be very active on social media and a great way for their customers to create original content for their product.
According to a report from Investopedia, the “campaign was one of the best-performing marketing campaigns in Coca-Cola’s history.”
Coca-Cola didn’t reinvent the wheel to design its #ShareACoke label, instead, they modified their existing label – taking off the brand name and using that space for the names. Not much of the overall design elements changed. The iconic red colour didn’t change, the bottle shape was still recognizable among other pop products, and other key features of the label stayed the same, they just simply removed the brand name to make way for a first name.
There is no denying that this campaign created a lot of hype and has built a sense of community around their product.
Within the last year, the company has removed the names and started printing activities that people like to do. It again inserts their Coke product into the images we share on social. Going camping? There is a Coke bottle for that.
What’s next for the Coca-Cola Company and its #ShareACoke campaign? Adding last names to its bottles and cans, according to a news article from AdvertisingAge. I think this is a really cool generational thing and one that would make content. I can just see a grandfather with his granddaughter holding up a Coke bottle with their last name and sharing that memory. Que the tears. Coke has been around for many generations, and even though the product is considered bad for your health (seriously though, what junk food or cheat meal isn’t?), people are still buying it because there is now, more than ever, a personal and nostalgia feeling.
Lessons for Others
- Go ahead, don’t be afraid to personalize your product and make people feel good. When people feel like they are personally being communicated too, they are more inclined to engage and share.
- Create a hashtag and splash it on your products and social media channels so your customers and stakeholders know how to interact. This will also help your communications and marketing teams follow the conversation, monitor feedback and interact one-on-one with your engaged community.
Industry: Food and Beverage
Name of Organization Contact: James Quincey
Authored by: isabel.p
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.
- rahook22. (2013, March 31). ‘Share A Coke’ campaign …Coca Cola, a marketing genius!!! [Video]. Retrieved July 5, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X8Bd3-G6IU
- KyliePenticost. (2014, August 9). On the hunt for a ‘Kylie’ @cocacola_ca bottle! Can’t believe my name made the cut. #shareacokecanada Keep your eyes pealed Twitterverse. [Twitter post]. Retrieved from, http://twitter.com
- The Coca-Cola Co. (2014, October 21). How We Pulled Off Share a Coke [Video]. Retrieved July 5, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wnJpTpbJPE
- Tarver, E. (2015, October 7). What Makes the ‘Share a Coke’ Campaign So Successful? (KO). Investopedia. Retrieved July 5, 2017, from http://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/100715/what-makes-share-coke-campaign-so-successful.asp
- J_Feliciano. (2017, July 4). #ShareaCoke this goes out to all of the Yolanda’s out there #HappyFourthofJuly. [Twitter post]. Retrieved from, http://twitter.com
- Schultz, E. (2017, April 18). Why Coke Is Adding Last Names to ‘Share a Coke’. AdvertisingAge. Retrieved July 5, 2017, from http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/coke-adding-names-share-a-coke/308678/