Learn about Coca-Cola's successful Share a Coke campaign, which originated in Australia and quickly spread worldwide, captivating the hearts of young consumers. Discover how personalized Coca-Cola bottles became a phenomenon, generating massive social media buzz.
The Share a Coke campaign was launched by Coca-Cola Australia in 2011, featuring consumer names printed on product labels. This innovative approach transformed Coca-Cola cans into special mementos and exciting gifts for friends and loved ones.
With the rise of digital communication, traditional social gatherings have given way to online interactions on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. Additionally, the soft drink industry faced increased competition, with carbonated beverages losing popularity among Australian youth.
Marketing Objective: Boost summer sales and engage young consumers, leading to more conversations and increased consumption of Coca-Cola.
Communication Objective: Encourage people to share a Coca-Cola with friends, whether old acquaintances or newly made connections, through the "Share a Coke" campaign.
Young people often address each other by name, and using personal names is an effective way to initiate conversations. Furthermore, the younger generation values personal expression and desires to see their names and images in public advertisements.
The campaign aimed to foster connections, togetherness, and shared moments of relaxation with a Coca-Cola can. The packaging of Coca-Cola products was altered to create conversations both online and offline.
Coca-Cola began printing the 150 most common Australian names on Coke bottles, prompting individuals to reconnect with long-lost friends or even share a Coke with someone new, using messages like, "If you have a crush on/ want to meet/ miss/ haven’t met/ LIAM, share a coke with him."
Coke bottles with personalized names appeared in refrigerated mobile vending machines across Australia, sparking initial conversations on social media. Print ads featuring the campaign were featured on the third page of "The Australian" newspaper.
Coca-Cola placed fridges filled with personalized Coke bottles throughout Australia, allowing customers to find and photograph bottles with their names. These images could be submitted to Coca-Cola for a chance to appear in TV commercials. The TV commercials showcasing volunteers "sharing a coke" with their friends were aired during major Australian sports events.
150 songs corresponding to the 150 names were composed and broadcasted on national radio. Young people could download and share these songs via Facebook. The campaign also leveraged the images of celebrities and the trend of sharing Coke bottles within their fan communities.
The primary social media channel used was Facebook, where Coca-Cola introduced an application allowing users to create virtual Coca-Cola bottles with their names or the images of their friends for inclusion in Coca-Cola's TV commercials. Throughout the campaign, Coca-Cola continued to gather customer suggestions through Facebook and mobile vending stalls for new names to be printed on Coke bottles. After receiving input from 65,000 people, 50 new names were added, bringing the total to an impressive 200 personalized names on Coca-Cola labels.
Participants could also send SMS messages to have their friend's names displayed on Coca-Cola billboards. Once their names appeared, customers received MMS messages containing the billboard image, which they could freely share via Facebook and email. Participants created their own personalized Coke bottle models, including names and images of their friends, and shared them on Facebook. Thousands of shares with new names emerged, and Coca-Cola set up 18 sales kiosks to invite consumers to share the names they desired. After listening to the opinions of 65,000 consumers, an additional 50 names were printed on Coke bottle labels.
Expansion and Impact
The Share a Coke campaign exceeded expectations, garnering millions of participants across Australia. The campaign received a Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions 2012 for the Outdoor category. Coca-Cola consumption increased by 7%, making it the most successful summer in the company's history.
The campaign generated 18 million earned media impressions on social media channels. On Facebook, traffic increased by 870%, making Coca-Cola's page the most talked-about in Australia and 23rd globally. Around 76,000 user-generated Coke bottle models were created and shared on Facebook. Moreover, 378,000 personalized Coca-Cola labels were printed at Westfield shopping centers in Australia.
Most importantly, the campaign shifted the perception of young Australian consumers towards the brand, leaving a positive impression. Coca-Cola became associated with being "a brand that constantly brings freshness" and "a brand I love," fostering strong emotional connections.
In 2013, the campaign also gained significant traction in the UK, with a 3.5% increase in Coca-Cola's Facebook community and a 6.8% global increase. Related Twitter hashtags reached 29,000 mentions.
In Vietnam, the "Share a Coke, Connect with Friends" campaign in 2014 achieved remarkable results, including 200,000 Facebook page likes, over 40,000 conversations related to personalized Coke bottles, and significant online presence and discussions on social media platforms.
Coca-Cola's Share a Coke campaign successfully connected people, sparked conversations, and reinvigorated the brand. With personalized Coke bottles and a robust digital presence, the campaign became a global phenomenon, leaving a lasting impact on young consumers worldwide.