Within our industry you have probably heard someone tell you at some time or another that you yourself are a brand. You stand for something and when looking for jobs you have to sell yourself. When I was asked, “what is your brand?”, my first thought was, “I’m just Kinsey.” Kinsey, this is who I am and what I stand for. Nothing is more personal and self-branding than your name.
Coca-Cola realized that we are a generation consumed by self-expression. They embraced this trend and credit the Ogilvy Advertising Agency for coming up with their “Share a Coke” campaign that launched in Australia in 2011. You probably noticed a change in Coke bottles at the beginning of the Summer. Names started to appear on the bottle where the brand name used to be. As everyone scurried to find their name or share one with a friend, social media became consumed by #shareacoke. Now on Instagram there are almost 550,000 posts with the hashtag.
According to AdWeek, after a long decline in Coke sales, Coca-Cola is making a comeback with a rise in sales for the first time in over a decade. With a heavy health trend sweeping the nation, Coke found a way to increase the sales of their sugary caffeine-filled sodas. As competitors struggle to promote the sales of their soda products, Coke’s brand is striving. Although Coca-Cola is already a long known household brand, AdWeek says the campaign has also allowed them to increase their advertising budget by 1 billion dollars.
The Wall Street Journal says that the campaign has now spread to over 80 countries. Although the campaign was never meant to be a permanent change to the iconic Coke bottle, as the “Share a Coke” bottles disappear from the shelves there has been some rethinking to the longevity of the campaign. According to AdWeek, “a senior brand manager for the company has said there will be “serious consideration” given to bringing it back again in the United States next summer.”
What can the Share a Coke campaign teach us about advertising? I think that the success of this campaign shows us the crucial benefit of knowing your audience. They realized that the decline in sales was due to a health trend among our generation. So then they noted that we were also a generation consumed with self-expression and independence. They used this information to build a campaign that would attract consumers and grow sales. Little did they know just how successful it would be.