If there’s one thing that Coca-Cola excels at, it’s a feel-good marketing campaign. Take, for instance, the beverage giant’s wildly successful “Share a Coke” program.
Coca-Cola first launched “Share a Coke” in Australia in 2011, and brought the campaign to the U.S. in 2014. That year, the company featured the 250 most-popular names among teens and Millennials on its packaging, hoping to quench the thirst for personalization and customization, because who doesn’t like to see his or her name highlighted in stores? (Especially if your first name happens to be the once-uncommon “Elise”?)
The marketing idea paid off. Coca-Cola’s sales volume grew for the first time since 2000. Not only did Coca-Cola improve its bottom line, it positioned itself for greater engagement with its target markets, particularly the Millennial demographic, by offering the added perk of happiness. This is psychology marketing at its best: delivering an emotional selling proposition that triggers consumers’ unconscious minds.
Coca-Cola has since expanded on the campaign. In 2015, the company began printing cans and bottles in Braille, so blind people could read them. And, in 2016, packages of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life showcased an array of song lyrics from “recent chart toppers, classic hits and traditional favorites” as part of the “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign.
For Summer 2017, the company plans to get even more personal with consumers by also printing last names on 20-ounce bottles across the Coca-Cola portfolio of products, including U.S. first-timers Coca-Cola Life and Cherry Coke. Operating under a new name, “Share an ICE COLD Coke,” the marketing campaign aims to remind us that “nothing beats the summer heat quite like an ice-cold, delicious Coca-Cola,” according to a press release. Just in time for prom, graduation, family reunion and wedding seasons.
“We know how much people love finding their names on Coca-Cola bottles, so this year we brought back names and added more names than ever,” said Evan Holod, Coca-Cola brand director, Coca-Cola North America. “We’re looking forward to following #shareacoke and seeing the amazing ways people across America will share their ice-cold Coke this summer.”
As AdvertisingAge reported, last names and first names will not appear on the same bottles because that would make things a bit too targeted (i.e., creepy). Some labels will include popular surnames like Johnson, Smith or Lopes, while others will stick to a first-name basis (e.g., Chris, Sarah or Matt).
AdvertisingAge offered insight on the name-choosing process. Via the site:
The marketer worked with an information analytics firm to identify 200 popular last names that account for roughly one-quarter of the population of people in the U.S. who are between the ages of 13-to-34. The brand’s roster of first names now includes more than 800 options.
Marketers, what do you think of this personalization twist? Does Coca-Cola have a summer blockbuster on its hands? Or, do you think it will fall flat in a declining soda industry? Sound off in the comments section below.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.