| July 06, 2015
Many brands have used their own packaging as a media channel, but Coca-Cola stands out as one that has done so successfully and on a repeated basis. The lure of seeing one’s own name on the iconic bottle has proved irresistible to millions around the world, but in China they are exploring new ways of using Coca-Cola’s pack to drive social engagement.
The ’Share a Coke’ campaign originated in Australia and has now been used in over 80 countries worldwide. You can read how the original idea was resulted from a need to inspire a “mass reappraisal” of the Coca-Cola brand among Australian consumers here and the resulting campaign was incredibly effective. The award winning Australian Effie paper reports that Coca-Cola increased volume by 4 percent in a down market and grew young adults' consumption by 7 percent. In BrandZ we observed Coca-Cola not only grew its salience (already huge) but grew perceived differentiation as well.
Just as the Share a Coke campaign has spread round the world, so too has it evolved. In China the iconic bottle has now featured internet nicknames, music lyrics from popular Chinese songs and now, in the latest incarnation, famous movie quotes. The Internet nicknames helped raise volume sales by 20 percent after two years of decline, and the music lyrics campaign was so popular that it raised volume a further 10 percent in 2014.
The lyric campaign was particularly notable because people could scan the bottle and then listen, watch and share the related MusiconTM with others (sorry, no movie clips this year, the rights are too expensive). The lyric campaign puts the brand front and center as a media channel to spark interest and engagement. Once you have shared your emotions using a MusiconTM you are probably going to want to do it again, and once you have bought the bottle, it is easy and fun to do. Social media is huge in China, so too is Coca-Cola, so with the right idea the campaign is bound to get traction.
Of course, the big challenge for most brands is that they are neither iconic nor widely used. That alone puts them on the back foot when it comes to using packaging or social media to promote the brand. When asked in the interview what he would do differently when creating the original Share campaign Jeremy Rudge (creative excellence lead) states,
“We’d probably spend a fraction of what we spent on TV… There is still a belief in the marketing world that you need to spend big on media to make sure people see your ideas, but “Share a Coke” proved that you can focus your resources on building ideas people want.”
That’s certainly true of a brand like Coke but it is not true of most brands. You might not use TV but you certainly need to amplify any social engagement with other media to ensure it reaches as wide an audience as possible.
So what do you think is critical to the success of campaigns like these? Please share your thoughts.