Coca-Cola Gets Personal in Europe with “Share a Coke” Campaign


Summertime is a great time for sharing soft drinks—and Coca-Cola wants to make the most of it in a very personal way with the “Share a Coke” campaign, launching across Europe this month.

“This month we’re swapping our names with yours,” proclaims the world’s leading soft drink in a concept that has a country’s most popular names showing up on Coca-Cola bottle labels. In Great Britain, for example, Coke bottles on shelves this summer will feature 150 of the UK’s most popular names. In addition, Share a Coke vending machines will be on tour so Coke fans can personalize their very own Coca-Cola or Coke Zero bottle. The company is also encouraging Facebook users to create a virtual personalized Coke can to share with someone.[more]

The highly personalized campaign is a rollout of a successful program that first launched in Australia in 2011. Jonathan Mildenhall, Coke’s global head of content and advertising, called the Australian Share a Coke program “the very best” of the company’s innovative thinking. “Australia managed to deliver 4 percent uplift during the Share A Coke period last year which made us very, very happy,” said Mildenhall. “It is the most awarded campaign in the Coca-Cola system, bar none. It was amazing to see that. Share A Coke is going to 20 markets this year.”

Only a company with Coca-Cola’s resources could pull off the scale of a campaign that will eventually reach 32 countries. Indigo printers made by HP are being used to produce 800 million high quality personalized labels carrying 150 of the most popular first names, nicknames, and terms of affection in each country. For every market, Coca-Cola is running a fully integrated campaign that combines country-specific television ads with online media. The company is also making use of some very unusual ways to call attention to the campaign, such as a live water projection of images at Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock.

According to Coca-Cola’s Mildenhall, the Share A Coke campaign is part of a larger effort to double the company’s sales by 2020 and to own a “disproportionate share of pop culture and consumer conversations.” It certainly does bring a whole new meaning to mass personalization.