If you had trouble finding a Coke with your name on it last summer, your luck’s about to change. The “Share a Coke” campaign, which helped fuel revenue and volume growth in 2014, is returning to the U.S. this week with more names, more packages and more ways to share.
Coca-Cola will swap out its iconic logo on 20-oz. bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero for 1,000 of America’s most popular names – four times as many as last year. Share a Coke is kicking off a few weeks earlier to hit even more spring and summer occasions and celebratory moments – from Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, to proms and graduations, to weddings and family reunions.
These changes were inspired by creative fans who made the campaign their own last summer – from wedding proposals, to baby announcements to pre-college sendoffs. “We found that people were buying Share a Coke bottles not just because they found their own names, but because they wanted to share with others,” said Evan Holod, Coca-Cola brand director, Coca-Cola North America. “The campaign’s spirit of generosity shined through, and everything we’re doing this year is inspired by that learning.”
The team also learned to keep the communications simple, and to let the packaging’s straightforward labeling and #ShareaCoke hashtag do the heavy lifting.
“Last year we saw how excited people were when they found a Coke with their name or their friend’s name. People shared countless images of their discoveries online, sometimes before they even left the store,” added Jennifer Healan, group director of integrated marketing content for Coca-Cola North America. “Share a Coke gave the brand a new way to do something we’ve done for almost 129 years: connect people… our bottles and cans became a special part of people’s most memorable moments last year. Whether they were hanging out with friends, with their family on vacation or at a wedding, they personalized these moments and made them even more special with Coca-Cola.”
A full Share a Coke marketing push will launch on May 1, including TV and cinema commercials and social and digital elements. Fans can once again text their #ShareaCoke photos for the chance to appear on digital Coca-Cola billboards in some of the country’s largest cities, including Times Square in New York.
“While last year people found great ways to use Share a Coke in amazing ways, this year we’ve given people the tools to make sharing even more personal,” Holod says. “Our e-Commerce platform, along with new glass and aluminum bottles at retail, gives people a way to plan ahead, to use Share a Coke to make their most special occasions a little more special, and brings people together in the way Coca-Cola always has.”
Retailers that participated in the 2014 campaign saw a year-over-year sales lift in July for 20-oz. Coca-Cola bottles. “Last year we were focused on selling the idea to customers,” Holod said, “but this year, given our shared success, they wanted to know how we could make it bigger.”
Aluminum bottles and emoticon-sporting mini cans will join the “Share a Coke” packaging mix in 2015. Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain dispensers even offer three limited-time Share a Coke mixes: “BFF,” “VIP” and “Legend”, and Coca-Cola Freestyle app users can unlock a secret fourth mix.
The Share a Coke experiential tour will cross the country again this summer, giving away more than 1 million customized Coca-Cola, Diet Coke or Coke Zero mini cans during 600 stops. The tour will hit theme parks and marquee summer events like the Essence Festival in New Orleans and the Coke Zero 400, in addition to hundreds of local stops. The full itinerary will be available at ShareaCoke.com, and fans can follow live location updates @ShareaCokeTour on Twitter.
“The excitement level we saw on last summer’s tour was incredible,” Healan said. This year we want to take that even further by giving fans more ways to share and personalize their summer experiences.”
“Share a Coke” debuted in Australia the summer of 2011-12 and has since rolled out in more than 80 countries, including New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Great Britain, Turkey, Germany, Spain and Chile.
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