Coca-Cola to the nation: “This time it’s personal”

In September last year, Coca-Cola Australia put people’s names on its cans and bottles for the first time. The campaign won a load of gongs at Cannes and its global marketing chief Joseph Tripodi said the idea would be exported to other markets. Now New Zealand is getting the personal treatment, with 150 of the country’s most popular names being put on millions of Coca-Cola bottles and cans “to remind and inspire people to connect”. 

At the time, Tripodi said it certainly wasn’t going to be easy to take it offshore, as there were so many moving parts to it, but, judging by the cackling when a trolley-load of personalised cans with the names of almost everyone in our office came rolling through, it’s a good way for a massive faceless corporation to tap into the emotions (the campaign was so well-received in Australia, with so many requests for names to be included and a hell of a lot of sharing, that the second phase of the campaign invited consumers to vote on 50 new names that would be added). 

A release featuring more bolded brand names, unnecessary capitalisation and ®’s than we’ve ever laid eyes on says every aspect of the fully integrated, multi-million dollar spring-to-summer ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, which was created by Ogilvy, Naked and Ikon, will act as an invitation for consumers to share a bottle or can with someone they know, or want to know.

“This is a playful social invitation to Kiwis that puts them front and centre using the power of the first name,” says Brid Drohan-Stewart, Coca-Cola sparkling beverages marketing manager. “We want people to have fun finding the names of friends and family they want to catch-up with, those they’ve lost touch with, or even someone they’ve yet to connect with so they can enjoy sharing a Coke together.”

From now until Christmas, bottles will have first names ranging from Aaron to Zoe on one side of the bottle inviting them to share the Coke. Cans will also invite consumers to share with the likes of their mates, Sis and Bro.

TVCs will feature Kiwis sharing a Coke with their family and friends, while out-of-home and targeted proximity advertising will support key retail partners.

A far-reaching digital campaign, including ‘Share a virtual Coke’ and ‘Share a Note’ Facebook applications, will encourage consumer engagement and allow people to personalise the product to share with friends and family.

“Inspiring Kiwis to connect and re-connect is at the heart of this campaign,” says Drohan-Stewart. “Even if they can’t get everyone together face-to-face we want to facilitate sharing online and capture great stories about how Kiwis are connecting over a Coke.”

Australian drinkers were able to get their name printed on cans for free around the country and the same thing is planned here, with a full three-month calendar of nationwide activations using interactive kiosks that will deliver more than 100,000 personalised Coke bottles and cans through shopping centres and universities, as well as specific grocery-based activations to drive consumers in-store. Australians could also download 150 ‘name songs’ via its Facebook page, but that doesn’t appear to be part of the Kiwi campaign. 

“These limited edition bottles and cans are expected to fly off shelves as people search for their friends’ names and we can’t wait to see all the ways New Zealanders will ‘Share a Coke’.

UPDATE: The 150 names are consistently popular first names in New Zealand pooled from many years of public record data, so not the most popular first names from a specific public list.

There were already some ethnic names within this, but the latest NZ Census data was also applied to ensure the diversity of our population was represented appropriately.  This led to the selection of an additional 12 popular ethnic names (adding to four that already featured regularly in the original lists). Input from Maori, Pacific and Asian (which includes Chinese and Indian) community groups was sought to select these additional names.

The colloquial names lie Bro, Sis and Mate are separate to this and feature on cans.


Communications Strategy: Naked

Media: IKON

Creative including Digital: Ogilvy

Digital technical: Satellite Media

Experiential activations: Copper

PR: Network Communication

Packaging: Passport, Energi

Insights: Colmar

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