Lessons Learned from the ‘Share a Coke’ Campaign

Also known as the Coca-Cola name campaign, the Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” campaign is a marketing campaign that features printed names on the side of every Coca-Cola can and bottle. You’ve probably seen it, if not participated in it in some way already. Late last year The Wall Street Journal reported that the campaign has brought Coca-Cola rises in sales that it hasn’t seen in 10 years, and that the campaign has spread to over 70 countries. This comes as no surprise, of course—the genius behind the campaign has created a way for Coca-Cola to leave its mark the minds and hearts of potential customers everywhere.

Make it personal.

The tremendous power behind this campaign lies in the fact that it connects directly with customers. It’s personal. Customers connect immediately with the Coca-Cola brand when they see their own names printed on the sides of the bottles and cans that they are drinking from. Building this type of connection between customer and brand is central to building a loyal patronage.

Offer incentive to collect.

Because so many hundreds of names can be found on these bottles and cans, customers feel incentive to purchase more soda in hopes of getting the name that they want. Even those with less common names might aspire to purchase more cans in order to get the one can with the general name of “Mom,” “Dad,” “Sister,” or “Friend” on it.

Make it picture-worthy.

This campaign has the unique power of driving customers to take their own photos and selfies with the product, which they can (and most likely will) share on social media sites. Customers who find their own names on the cans, for example, feel obligated to share the experience with friends and family. The name-emblazoned cans and bottles have even found their way into both photo and video format wedding and baby announcements.

Make it easily shareable.

On a related note, this campaign has been highly successful because it is so easily shareable on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook—and not just in the form of photos and videos. The short “Share a Coke” promotion line, for example, translates seamlessly into the memorable hashtag of #ShareACoke. It’s a hashtag that doesn’t sound gimmicky, making it much more likely to be adopted by the masses. In addition, the campaign has had the potential of spawning numerous “parodies,” where social media users create an image with names of their choice printed on the sides of the cans—names of favorite television show characters, for example. These parodies are in turn shared to social media as well, practicing putting the campaign in the customers’ hands and letting them run with it.

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