For the last five summers, “Share a Coke” has become a seasonal pastime – along with baseball games, backyard barbecues and family reunions – as Americans seek out bottles with their names or the names of friends and loved ones.

And every year since 2014, Share a Coke has introduced new innovations and surprise-and-delight experiences to keep fans coming back – from adding more brands and names on more packages (including tie-ins with passion points like NCAA March Madness and the FIFA World Cup), to launching an e-Commerce site (ShareaCoke.com) where fans can order custom glass bottles, to introducing a first-ever sticker label, to finding fun ways to integrate music into the campaign.

“The insight behind Share a Coke hasn’t changed,” said Saxon Seay, Coca-Cola senior brand manager. “The way we bring it to life for consumers has.”

She added, “When Share a Coke launched in the U.S., we had to really educate people that they could find and share names across our key packages. Discovery was our main message. But as people have become more aware of Share a Coke – and anticipated the campaign’s return each summer – they’ve asked us to bring new news to the program.”

That means expanding on fan-favorite features from the prior year, such as patriotic packaging first introduced in 2016 to support Coke’s partnership with the USO. 

“Each year when we look at evolving Share a Coke, we want to deliver an amazing summer program. At the end of the day, we continue to build on the very successful foundation we have in Share a Coke. Fans repeatedly tell us and demonstrate in social that finding the names of their friends and family members and sharing a Coke and a moment with them is something really special and keeps them coming back.”

Here’s a look at how the campaign has continued to evolve and expand:

share a coke 2 604

2014: Importing a Winning Idea from ‘Down Under’

Share a Coke – which was first introduced in Australia in 2011 – made its U.S. debut in 2014. In that first year, Coke swapped out logos on 20-oz. bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero for the 250 most popular first names among American teens and Millennials. Shareable 1.25- and 2-liter bottles sported group names like “Family” and “Friends”, and colloquial nicknames like “BFF,” “Bestie,” “Buddy” and “Wingman” appeared on 12-oz. cans.

Fans could visit www.ShareaCoke.com to personalize virtual bottles and share them with friends on social media. Fans also used the #ShareaCoke hashtag to share stories and photos for the chance to be featured on Coke billboards across the country.

A 500-stop, cross-country “Share a Coke” tour featured traveling kiosks where fans could customize a Coke mini can for themselves and a second can for someone special. Consumers could send a friend an actual Coke via Twitter, too. Learn more.

Share a Coke eCommerce

2015: More Names, More Packs and More Ways to Share

Year two of the campaign featured four times as many names (1,000) as the prior year, plus more packages and ways to share. Share a Coke kicked off a few weeks earlier to hit 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.

Changes were inspired by creative fans who made Share a Coke their own in 2014 – from wedding proposals, to baby announcements to college sendoffs. Bottles featured “Mom”, “Dad”, “Grad”, “Soulmate” “Hero” and more occasion-specific nicknames, and multi-serve packs sported “Class of 2015”, “Team” and “Family”.

ShareaCoke.com became an e-Commerce site, adding a degree of customization by allowing people to order personalized 8-oz. glass contour bottles at ShareaCoke.com.

Aluminum bottles and emoticon-sporting mini cans joined the “Share a Coke” packaging mix, and Coca-Cola Freestyle offered three limited-time Share a Coke mixes: “BFF,” “VIP” and “Legend”.

The Share a Coke experiential tour gave away more than 1 million customized Coca-Cola, Diet Coke or Coke Zero mini cans during 600 stops at theme parks and key summer events like Essence Festival and the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race. Learn more.

Share a Coke and a Song

2016: ‘Share a Coke and a Song’

Share a Coke sung a slightly different tune in its third year by trading out first names for song lyrics on packages of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life. More than 70 genre-spanning lyrics – from classic hits to recent chart-toppers – were featured on packaging. Lyrics captured the feeling of falling in love (“You Belong With Me”) and celebrating victory (“All I Do is Win”) to moments of friendship (“Lean On Me”), to flirtation (“It’s Getting Hot in Here”), sass (“We Never Go Out Of Style”), motivation (“I’m Your Biggest Fan”) and patriotism (“I’m Proud To Be An American”). Lyrics were selected both to appeal to diverse musical tastes and inspire connection.

Share a Coke and a Song Cans

Fans could use the Shazam mobile app to scan lyrics on specially marked Share a Coke 20-oz. bottles and signage, then record a digital lip-sync video to share on social media with the hashtag #ShareaCoke.

A summer-long experiential tour of major music events kicked off at the 2016 NCAA March Madness Music Festival in Houston with a performance from international pop star and Coca-Cola ambassador Jason Derulo.

Customized Diet Coke and Coke Zero packaging debuted in the ShareaCoke.com store alongside Coca-Cola licensed apparel and gift items. Limited-edition patriotic packaging honored America’s military service men and women and saluted Coke’s longstanding partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO). Learn more.

Share an ICE COLD Coke

2017: Share an ‘Ice-Cold’ Coke

The fourth iteration of Share a Coke reminded fans that nothing beats the summer heat like an ice-cold, delicious Coca-Cola. Bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero – and, for the first time in the U.S., Coca-Cola Life and Cherry Coke – featured first and last names. Creative focused on the role of Coca-Cola as a refreshing thirst-quencher that brings people together.

Music made its way back into the campaign, too. Fans could visit ShareaCoke.com, type their name into the search bar, and listen to an 18 to 20-second jingle featuring their name. For those whose names weren’t included, the word “Sorry” appeared, but not without a cheeky jingle of its own.

Nearly 200 last names were included for the first time, too Learn more.

Share Chair

2018: More than Names

An ice-cold Coke tastes best when shared together with friends, family and even strangers. That’s the inclusive message behind Share a Coke 2018.

“This year, we’re focusing on the role Coca-Cola plays in the special summer moments we share with others,” Jaideep Kibe, vice president, Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America. “We wanted to tap into the meaning behind shared experiences more so than just names.”

Several innovations will reward fans for the simple act of sharing. For the first time, Share a Coke name labels on 20-oz. Coke bottles are stickers. Fans can peel them off to reveal Coca-Cola Sip & Scan™ codes that unlock chances to win prizes ranging from a free Coke, to amusement park passes, to baseball tickets.

SAC sticker

This year also marks the premiere of the Share Chair, an oversized armchair that doubles as a “shareable” vending machine. When two people sit together, personalized mini cans of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero Sugar are vended through the chair’s arms. A strategically positioned camera captures the moment and provides fans with a photo and video of their experience to share on social media. The Share Chair will travel to events including the BET Experience in L.A., the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle and the Major League Baseball All Star Game in Washington, D.C.

In addition to more than 1,100 first and last names on bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Life, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke and Cherry Coke Zero, fun nicknames like “La Familia,” “A Champion,” “My Best Friend,” “An MVP” and “Your Squad” can be found on packages of Coke, Coke Life and Coke Zero Sugar. Patriotic packaging is back, too, and fans can visit ShareaCoke.com to customize bottles with two lines of text, share “social postcards” with friends and family. Learn more.