The personalised packs – which appear on individual 375ml and 500ml PET bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero – were distributed to stores from last week with little media support as the brand looked to drive intrigue around the campaign. The on-pack creative also features the hashtag #ShareACoke, encouraging people to tell their friends about their discovery online.
Those who are unable to find their names on pack can visit the dedicated Share A Coke UK website or the the Share A Coke Facebook app to create virtual cans with their names on.
The bottle roll-out will be supported with a fully integrated marketing campaign from May, which includes a TV ad that will feature young people telling stories about people they admire and are inspired by. The campaign, which was created by Leo Burnett, is its biggest ever in terms of media spend for the four month summer period – even larger than the burst around last summer’s Olympic Games.
Jon Woods, managing director of Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland, told Marketing Week the campaign replicates similar activity that took place in Australia and New Zealand last summer and helped boost engagement with the brand and grow volume in the regions.
He added: “Last year was the most fabulous year to be involved with Coke but our sales were not as strong as we would have liked. We have got off to a good start this year and we think this campaign will build momentum on the first quarter. We are still cycling some of the crummy weather from last summer but this is going to be a really strong campaign for the brand – it’s quite unusual and arresting to see your name replace a brand as iconic as Coke.”
In 2012 sales of Coca-Cola variants in the grocery, convenience and impulse market increased just 0.8 per cent to £1.15bn and volume sales fell 3.3 per cent, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks Report. Sales of Pepsi variants grew 7.4 per cent to £352.2m, while volume increased 10 per cent.
Woods said: “I think the measure of success for us with this summer’s campaign is how we excite our core consumer, create interest in the brand and drive value and volume.”
He adds the role its diet brands play in the campaign is also significant, following on from its recent Diet Coke hunk ads, the “Be OK” anti-obesity spot and Coke Zero cinema campaign.
Diet variants now make up 45 per cent of its business in the UK and 80 per cent of all Diet Coke and Coke Zero packs will contain consumers’ names on bottles as part of this campaign. The other 20 per cent of all bottles will carry a “Share Coke With…” either “friends”, “family” or “everyone” message.
In 2011 Heinz launched a “Get Well Soup” campaign, which allowed its Facebook fans to replace its branding on tins with a personalised message to be delivered straight to an unwell friend or family member.
Woods said while the Heinz idea is “interesting” – and the virtual cans will also allow people to write their own messages – the scale of Coca-Cola’s campaign is what will ultimately make it successful.
He added: “If you walk into a store to pick something up at lunchtime and there’s your name on a bottle, it’s special because it’s there at that moment you buy.”
Further experiential and digital activity will roll out later this summer.