Share a Coke Campaign

Is gift-giving your love language? If you've answered "yes," you are the perfect audience for Coca-Cola's famous "Share a Coke" campaign.

Share a Coke Campaign Share a Coke Campaign

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Table of contents

    Do you remember the last time you sent a gift to someone you love? For the Share a Coke campaign team, it all started in the winter of 2011. Since then, Share a Coke has become one of the world's longest-running marketing campaigns.

    Share a Coke Campaign: Introduction

    On a chilly winter evening in 2011, the Coca-Cola South Pacific team met in a conference room in Sydney, Australia, to plan for its upcoming summer 'Project Connect' campaign. By the beginning of 2012, Coca-Cola had teamed with the Ogilvy marketing agency to launch its ambitious Share a Coke campaign.

    Being the first of its kind, the Share a Coke Campaign had a simple concept: to replace the Coke branding on Coca-Cola bottles and cans with the customized phrase 'Share A Coke With …' followed by the 150 most popular names across Australia. With the Share a Coke Campaign, Coca-Cola set out two main goals: (1) to bring the brand closer to Australian young adults and (2) to inspire both real and virtual shared moments of happiness.2

    And indeed, it worked!

    Less than a year after the Share a Coke campaign's release in 2012, Coca-Cola witnessed its sales increase by more than 2.5 percent, and the consumption of Coke among Millennials shot up by 7 percent.3

    In Australia, a market of just under 23 million people in 2012, the brand sold more than 250 million customized Coke bottles and cans.3 Starting in Australia, the Share a Coke Campaign quickly spread to more than 70 countries worldwide.

    Up to now, the Share a Coke Campaign has generated millions of dollars and countless impressions for Coca-Cola, thus becoming one of the most exemplary case studies in the global marketing industry. You might have seen some of these unique Coca-Cola cans and bottles in your local supermarket or your Facebook newsfeed.

    Share a Coke Campaign Personalized 'Shared a Coke with' can StudySmarterFig. 1 - Personalized 'Share a Coke with' can

    Share a Coke Campaign Objectives

    Coke had become too familiar, too predictable. We were given a clear challenge by the head of the Pacific region to do something extraordinary. 2

    - Jeremy Rudge, Share a Coke Campaign Creative Excellence Lead

    In 2012, although young adults in Australia embraced Coca-Cola products as iconic ones, many of them felt that the brand was not aesthetically attractive. Thus, Coca-Cola was too familiar a brand to them. Therefore, with its Share a Coke Campaign, Coca-Cola determined to conquer two main objectives:

    1. Engage with young Australian adults differently by talking to them through the Coca-Cola brand.

    2. Increase the brand's profit during the summer of 2012.

    Soon after the campaign's first launch in Australia, Coca-Cola realized a similar situation in customers' perception of the brand and its products in other markets. Therefore, during its expansion phase, the Share a Coke campaign's principal goal was to engage with customers more personally and creatively by speaking to them at eye level.

    Share a Coke Campaign Target Audience

    Before 2012, Coca-Cola's target segment was Baby Boomers. However, anticipating that Millennials would soon outpace Baby Boomers in the world's total population, Coca-Cola marked its Share a Coke campaign as an official switch to the next largest generation.

    Thus, the brand's Share a Coke campaign chose young 18-25-year-old adults (Millennials) as its primary target audience. Besides Millennials, middle-aged consumers represented the campaign's secondary target audience.

    Share a Coke Campaign Budget

    For the first Share a Coke campaign in Australia, the original budget was 3.3 billion USD in 2012.4 During the next three years, Coca-Cola increased its advertising budget by an average of 1 billion USD annually. Up to now, with its coverage of over 70 countries worldwide, the Share a Coke campaign's total costs have been estimated at over 51 million USD.4

    Share a Coke Campaign Analysis

    Hold on, can you guess some of the main ingredients of Coca-Cola's recipe behind the successful Share a Coke Campaign? While there is no single route towards success, Coca-Cola has created an effective combination of careful audience research and diverse marketing strategies to sing its beautiful Share a Coke campaign.

    Share a Coke Campaign: Market Research and Audience Research

    An obvious yet complicated ingredient in the successful recipe of the Share a Coke Campaign is its thorough research and understanding of target markets and audiences.

    The Australian Market

    Considering Australia, Coca-Cola understands Australia has an egalitarian culture, emphasizing equality in their daily lives and the competitive business landscape. Thus, Coca-Cola felt the need to refresh its long-standing brand image and swipe away from the regular appearance of Coca-Cola in the minds of Australians. Further, Coca-Cola started its Share a Coke campaign with 150 initial popular names, which would match about 42 percent of the entire Australian population. Think about efficiency! 3

    Similarly, Coca-Cola also did profound research for each of its additional 70 countries in which the Share a Coke campaign was launched. Accordingly, Coca-Cola came up with 250 popular names for every market that could best link the brand with domestic customers. Considering the enormous cultural differences between each market, this is by no means an easy task! And yes, hard work pays off, especially in the case of the Share a Coke campaign.

    Besides, as we've mentioned earlier, Coca-Cola has also made a wise strategic move in defining millennials as its new target group for the upcoming decades.

    Share a Coke Campaign Success

    Besides, perhaps the biggest contributor to the success of the Share a Coke campaign is Coca-Cola's diverse marketing strategies and techniques, which have made the campaign a unique experience for customers.

    Personalized, Shareable, Emotional, and Interactive

    For teens and millennials, personalization is not a fad; it's a way of life. It's about self-expression, individual storytelling and staying connected with friends. 'Share a Coke' taps into all of those passions.

    - Stuart Kronauge, Vice President of Coca-Cola North America 5

    Forget about the familiar Coca-Cola logo. In the Share a Coke campaign, you can add whichever name you want to your Coke can. Interestingly, Coca-Cola took personalization to the next level. During its campaign, Coke lovers could personalize their bottles and cans through shareable digital images and through printing whichever name they desired onto physical bottles and cans.

    Let's think about Coca-Cola's wise tactic in activating both the virtual and physical marketing world!

    Beginning with the pre-determined 150 popular names in Australia, Coca-Cola soon let customers spice their experiences with emotions by allowing them to create personalized labels and share them on social media platforms directly via the 'Share a Coke' Website. Also, Coca-Cola launched its cross-country traveling kiosks to let fans create their own 'Share a Coke' cans and bottles in-person to address their loved ones.

    It is personalized, shareable, and emotional. But it does not stop here.

    The Share a Coke campaign is also too interactive to resist. By using the hashtag #ShareaCoke when sharing their experiences with personalized Coke bottles or cans, customers could stand a chance of being featured on Coke billboards worldwide. Furthermore, by accessing the free Coca-Cola Freestyle mobile app, people could scan a QR code and send their friends a $1 discount coupon for a 20oz Coke.

    Share a Coke campaign Share a Coke campaign at a retail store StudySmarterFig. 2 - Share a Coke campaign at a retail store

    Multichannel Rollout

    Coca-Cola is right about its multichannel rollout for the Share a Coke campaign. The launch strategy was to first distribute personalized Coke bottles and cans in retail stores across Australia.

    What would you do if you saw a Coke can with your name (or that of an acquaintance) when shopping for groceries? "Let's take a photo of the Coke and share it with the person!" That is how Coca-Cola fueled the campaign's hot online buzz.

    Then, a three-page print newspaper and a TV ad campaign featured photos of people sharing a name, which inspired others to do so. Further, an electronic billboard also encouraged people to send an SMS indicating the name they would like to be featured on a Coke can, thus fueling the race to get featured. At the same time, Coca-Cola also used various influencer marketing channels with celebrities sharing, liking, commenting, or retweeting campaign-related posts and activities.

    How big was the campaign's social boomerang after only one year?

    Huge! The one-year results are as follows:

    • 500,000 photos with #ShareaCoke hashtag

    • 25+ million new followers of Coca-Cola on Facebook

    • 870 percent increase in Coca-Cola's website traffic 3

    Powerful Call-to-action

    The actionable word 'Share' in 'Share a Coke' matters. It implies not only the act of getting a Coke with your name but also the act of finding a beloved person and sharing a Coke with them!

    In fact, this powerful call to action activates people to think beyond their own benefits to go the extra mile of caring for others. Thus, instead of being a rigid message, the campaign's call to action closely ties customers to their emotional values to influence their actions.

    Powerful Storytelling

    Every individual thrives in a community - hence, the powerful story theme of the Share a Coke campaign. We can see that the entire campaign is really community-centric. The Share a Coke campaign tells a touching story of love, acceptance, understanding, and sharing within a community. Thus, it unites individuals, and all society, together beyond their culture, age, location, or social status. Just as a dog called "Bobby" in South Africa has a Coke with his name, so can a girl named 'Mate' living somewhere in Australia.

    Share a Coke Campaign - Key takeaways

    • The Share a Coke Campaign was launched in 2012 and has been the world's longest-running marketing campaign since.
    • The Share a Coke Campaign has a simple concept: to replace the Coke branding on Coca-Cola bottles and cans with the customized phrase 'Share A Coke With …' followed by a name.
    • The primary target audience of the Share a Coke Campaign was Millennials (young, 18-25-year-old adults), and the secondary target audience of the campaign was middle-aged people.
    • The Share a Coke campaign's budget was $3.3 billion in the first year, which amounted to $51 million up until now.
    • Two main success factors of the Share a Coke campaign: (1) a thorough understanding of target markets and audiences and (2) diverse marketing strategies.

    References

    1. Fig. 1: Personalized 'Share a Coke with' can (https://unsplash.com/photos/ryTknbJzLLQ) by Ernest Brillo (https://unsplash.com/@ernest_brillo) licensed by Unsplash License
    2. Jay Moye. 'Share a Coke: How the Groundbreaking Campaign Got Its Start 'Down Under''. Coca-Cola Company. 2016.
    3. Casey Neal. 'Share a Coke: It's All in a Name'. Medium. 2014.
    4. Christine. 'Share a Coke'. Sites at Penn State. 2017.
    5. Creative Trivision. '3 Reasons Why "Share a Coke" Marketing Campaign Is Successful'. 2014.
    6. Fig. 2: Target 'Share a Coke' (https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/5f066810-1ed8-491f-985e-9a61e684bdc4) by JeepersMedia (https://www.flickr.com/photos/39160147@N03) by CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)
    Frequently Asked Questions about Share a Coke Campaign

    What was the purpose of the Share a Coke campaign?

    With its Share a Coke Campaign, Coca-Cola determined to conquer two main objectives: 

    1. Engage with young Australian adults differently.
    2. Increase the brand's profit during the Summer of 2012.

    During its expanding phase, the Share a Coke campaign's primary goal was to engage with customers in a more personal and creative way by speaking to them at eye level. 

    What is share a coke campaign?

    Share a Coke Campaign has a simple concept: to replace the Coke branding on Coca-Cola bottles and cans with the customized phrase ‘Share A Coke With …’ followed by personalized names. With the Share a Coke Campaign, Coca-Cola set out two main goals: (1) to bring the brand closer to Australian young adults and (2) to inspire both real and virtual shared moments of happiness.

    How successful was the Share a Coke campaign?

    Less than a year after the Share a Coke campaign's release in 2012, Coca-Cola witnessed its sales increase by more than 2.5 percent, and the consumption of Coke among Millennials shot up by 7 percent. Within Australia, a market of just under 23 million people in 2012, the brand sold more than 250 million customized Coke bottles and cans. Starting in Australia, the Share a Coke Campaign has quickly widespread to more than 70 countries worldwide. 

    Who did the Share a Coke campaign target?

    The primary target audience of the Share a Coke Campaign is Millennials (young 18-25-year-old adults), and the secondary target audience of the campaign is middle-aged people.

    When was Share a Coke campaign launched in the US?

    Share a Coke campaign was launched in 2014 in the US.

    How many countries was the Share a Coke campaign?

    Today, the Share a Coke campaign has spread to over 70 countries worldwide.

    When was share a coke campaign launched?

    Share a Coke campaign was first launched in 2012 in Australia.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Coca-Cola's 'Share a Coke' online store allows customers to:

    The Share a Coke campaign was first launched in: 

    The Share a Coke campaign has an initial budget of:

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