Coca-Cola’s groundbreaking Share a Coke campaign was first floated in Sydney in 2011, born of the company’s desire to re-engage with young Australian adults. Five agencies had each been given the same 150-word brief, and Coke’s then marketing director for the South Pacific, Lucie Austin, sensed immediately that Ogilvy’s idea of launching individually named bottles and cans was a winner.

Randomisation

Coca-Cola’s groundbreaking Share a Coke campaign was first floated in Sydney in 2011, born of the company’s desire to re-engage with young Australian adults. Five agencies had each been given the same 150-word brief, and Coke’s then marketing director for the South Pacific, Lucie Austin, sensed immediately that Ogilvy’s idea of launching individually named bottles and cans was a winner.

She pressed the start button on an initiative that was to see more than 250 million Cokes sold that summer in Australia, a market of fewer than 23 million consumers. The packaging featured 150 of the country’s most popular names, displayed in a specially-commissioned font called ‘You’, inspired by the Coca-Cola logo. The campaign’s overwhelming success was attributed to the sense among Australia’s youth that a big, iconic brand was at last addressing them personally, at ‘eye level’.

Coca-Cola were quick to exploit the idea in more than 80 further territories around the world, and saw an average sales uptick of 4% – no mean feat in a highly developed environment in which they already enjoyed a 70% market share.

Social media played an important role in Share A Coke’s success, and the UK ’s implementation of the campaign generated in excess of 170,000 tweets. Consumers enthusiastically fuelled the frenzy of interest, and this quickly led to the release of hundreds more names and – memorably – to ‘special edition’ bottles that congratulated Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of Prince George. More than five billion personalized cans and bottles have now been produced around the world, making the Coca-Cola brand, sometimes thought of as monolithic and over-dominant, appear light-footed, responsive and – crucially – fun! This was a direct result of their willingness to exploit an agile and highly versatile new print technology. The campaign garnered seven prestigious awards at the 2012 Cannes Lions Festival, and in 2014 the company’s online store personalized some 730,000 glass bottles.

KPG’s HP Indigo 30000 heralds a significant turning point in digital print, making on-pack creativity both affordable and cost-effective, and turning every packaging or labelling project into an opportunity to turn inspiration and innovative design ideas into profit.

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