Brand of the Day: How ‘Share a Coke’ Went Beyond Ingenious Packaging to Boost Sales

Personalization across media channels

Headshot of Kristina Monllos

People love anything personalized, particularly from major marketers, and Coca-Cola smartly played into that this summer by importing the clever "Share a Coke" campaign to the U.S.

Personalized bottles and cans buoyed a decade-long sales decline for Coke—sales are up more than 2.5 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal—and though the campaign is ending, executives are strongly considering bringing it back next summer. 

The packaging idea, which started in Australia in 2011, certainly seemed to reinvigorate Americans' love for all things Coke. People hunted on eBay for names. They hacked the campaign endlessly. One couple even used it to announce a new member of the family.

But it wasn't just the 250 popular names on cans and bottles that endeared consumers. Plenty of media supported the packaging idea, from roving kiosks to interactive billboards to an interactive site (see below). And the list goes on.

The video above is an example of the "Make a Dancing Bottle" portion of the interactive site, which also allowed consumers to search for their names, browse photo galleries and find a Coke in stores near them. 

Social Media Profile (as of 9/30/14)

Facebook Likes: 88.9 Million

Twitter Followers: 2.6 Million

Instagram Followers: 318,231

The brand posts regularly on all of its social profiles and usually creates new assets for specific days, like the one above. The brand is still using its "Open Happiness" slogan, which it adopted in 2009.

Recent Advertising

Ads for the "Share a Coke" program showed that when customers drink Coke they are making memories and having fun with friends. This message meshed easily with the millennial target. 

Fast Facts

  • Coca-Cola was created in 1886 by Atlanta-based pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton. Pemberton didn't name the beverage, though. That credit goes to his partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson.
  • Pemberton died in 1888 but not before selling the majority stake of his business to businessman Asa Candler.
  • When large-scale bottling was made possible in 1899, Candler sold the rights to three entrepreneurs—Benjamin Thomas, Joseph Whitehead and John Lupton—for just $1. They created the Coca-Cola worldwide bottling system.
  • The first marketing for Coca-Cola was done through coupons and free samples in 1887. 

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.