The Coca-Cola Company is an American beverage company that manufactures and markets nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. It is one of the largest multinational corporations in the world and has had many successful marketing campaigns.

The company’s “Share a Coke” 2014 summer campaign is one of the best-performing marketing campaigns in Coca-Cola’s history. It trades out the company’s iconic logo on 20-ounce bottles for 250 of the country’s most popular names. Consumers are encouraged to find bottles with names that hold a personal meaning for them and to share them with friends and family.

Additionally, consumers can share their experiences and stories on social with the hashtag #ShareaCoke. The following are the top four reasons why the “Share a Coke” campaign is so successful.

1. Consumers Are Prompted to Create Online Media Content

Coca-Cola has generated massive amounts of social media content by specifically targeting consumers who use social media and asking them to share photos and stories. The company gives full creative control and brand ownership to these consumers, prompting people to feel like they aren’t promoting the company so much as they are starting their own social media conversations.

Online conversations have become organic, driven by consumers rather than the brand itself. This has integrated the Coca-Cola Company into the homes of its consumers, becoming part of their lifestyles.

The online results of the campaign have been a massive success. Within the first year, more than 500,000 photos were shared using the #ShareaCoke hashtag, consumers created over six million virtual Coke bottles, and Coca-Cola gained roughly 25 million Facebook followers.

2. The Brand Connects With Consumers on a Personal Level

For teens and millennials, personalization is not just a fad, but a way of life. These consumers place a high value on self-expression, individual storytelling and staying connected with friends. The “Share a Coke” campaign gives them the ability to do all of these things while unknowingly promoting the Coca-Cola brand. For example, when a consumer shares a name-branded Coke bottle with her mother, she feels as if she is honoring her mother rather than promoting the Coke brand itself. 

While 250 common names were used in the 2014 U.S. campaign, not everyone’s name is common, which could have decreased the effectiveness of the campaign. Knowing this, Coca-Cola created a 500-stop, cross-country “Share a Coke” tour that allowed fans to customize a mini can for themselves and a second one for someone special. The company also provided alternative preprinted options with monikers such as “bestie,” “star” or “BFF” for those whose names weren’t included. 

3. Powerful Call to Action

The main slogan in the campaign, “Share a Coke,” is a great call-to-action phrase. This slogan prompts consumers to buy a physical Coke to share and also share their Coca-Cola stories online. The slogan is catchy and easy to remember, making the call to action “sticky” and a constant reminder to consumers. Further, it is reported that Coca-Cola purposefully used the “Share a Coke” phrase to encourage consumers to not only have a Coke themselves but also to give one to someone else.

4. The Campaign Continues to Change

Even a marketing campaign as successful as “Share a Coke” has to be constantly updated to maintain interest, and the company has successfully done that. In 2015, they increased the personal names printed on bottles to 1,000 and opened an ecommerce shop where consumers could order personalized bottles. Song lyrics were added to packaging, allowing fans to share music with their friends instead of names. The music continued in 2017 as added a feature for consumers to hear a short jingle with their name in it. And in 2018, Coke made their now iconic name labels removable stickers that could be stuck on clothing, cell phones, notebooks, etc., and might reveal a prize on the bottle underneath.

When sales started to stagnate, Coca-Cola rose to the challenge and rolled out one of the most successful marketing campaigns in the company’s history. What started in Australia in 2011 is now a worldwide marketing strategy that shows no signs of stopping.

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