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, where it swapped out its iconic logo on 20-ounce bottles, with 250 of the most popular American names.

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

  • In 2014, the Coca-Cola Company launched its mega-successful "Share a Coke" campaign, where it replaced its logo on 20-ounce bottles with 250 of the most popular American names.
  • Consumers were encouraged to find bottles with names they connected with and give them to a friend or family member.
  • Capitalizing on the social media craze, Coca-Cola encouraged consumers to tweet about their experiences and post photos, using the hashtag #ShareaCoke.
  • Coca-Cola continuously expanded the campaign, boosting the number of names from 250 to 1000.
  • Coca-Cola's online store now lets consumers customize the names on bottles.

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

1. Consumers Are Prompted to Create Online Media Content

Coca-Cola empowered consumers to discuss the product over social media platforms, in a way that puts 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 merely tools in the company's promotional machine.

Consequently, 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 it's 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 innocuously creating a 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 lets fans 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. 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, in addition to increasing the personal names from 250 to 1,000, Coca-Cola opened an e-commerce shop where consumers could order personalized bottles. Furthermore, song lyrics were added to the bottles' packaging, letting fans share music, instead of just names.

In 2017, the company added a feature that let consumers hear a short jingle with their name in it. And in 2018, Coke made their now-iconic name labels removable stickers that could be fastened to clothing, cell phones, notebooks, and other items.