The Coca-Cola Company, one of the world's largest multinational corporations in the non-alcoholic beverage space, is known for its innovative marketing initiatives. In 2014, it launched its "Share a Coke" campaign, in which it replaced its iconic brand name with one of the 250 most popular American names on the labels of 20-ounce bottles.

Consumers were encouraged to find bottles with names that held personal meaning to them, share them with friends and family, then tweet about their experiences using the hashtag #ShareaCoke.

Key Takeaways

  • Consumers were prompted to convey a personal experience on social media. They posted 500,000 photos.
  • Your name on a Coke bottle? That's personalization!
  • "Share a Coke" is pure call-to-action advertising.
  • The campaign continues to evolve in creative ways.

The "Share a Coke" campaign became a raging success in America, for four reasons.

1. Consumers Are Prompted to Create Online Media Content

Coca-Cola empowered consumers to discuss the product on social media platforms in a way that puts the control in the hands of customers. By reflecting on their personal experiences, consumers felt like their lifestyles were the center of the narrative, instead of feeling like they were mere tools in the company's promotional machine.

Consumers shared more than 500,000 photos via the #ShareaCoke hashtag within the first year alone. Coca-Cola gained roughly 25 million new Facebook followers that same year.

2. The Brand Connects With Consumers on a Personal Level

For Millennials, personalization is not just a fad but a way of life. The "Share a Coke" campaign enabled this set to express their individual stories and connect with friends and family. A girl who shares a name-branded Coke bottle with her mother feels as though she's connecting with her parent by creating a non-controversial topic of conversation.

Of course, not everyone's name was represented on the 250 altered bottles. Consequently, Coca-Cola created a 500-stop cross-country "Share a Coke" tour which invited fans to customize a mini can for themselves and a second one for someone special.

The company also provided alternative pre-printed options with monikers such as "Bestie," "Star" or "BFF," for those with more unusual names that were not represented.

3. The Campaign Has a Powerful Call to Action

The "Share a Coke" slogan is inherently a call-to-action to buy more product. Catchy and easy to remember, the phrase carries an embedded directive to purchase a bottle of Coke for the purpose of giving it to another.

The "Share a Coke" campaign was first introduced in Australia before it was brought to the United States.

4. The Campaign Continues to Change

The "Share a Coke" campaign has constantly expanded. In 2015, the company increased the personal names represented from 250 to 1,000.

Coca-Cola also opened an e-commerce shop where consumers could order personalized bottles.

Then, song lyrics were added to the bottles' packaging so that fans could share music in addition to names. In 2017, the company added a feature that let consumers listen to a short jingle with their name in it.

In 2018, Coke turned their now-iconic name labels into removable stickers that could be fastened to clothing, cell phones, notebooks, and other items.