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The World Shares A Coke (Consumer Behavior Case Study) ...

The World Shares A Coke (Consumer Behavior Case Study)


The "Share A Coke" campaign has been one of Coca Cola's most successful marketing campaigns of all time and has revitalized consumer enthusiasm for the Coca Cola brand across the globe. Its beginnings were a humble 151 word abstract in Australia that resulted in 250 of the most common first names for teens and Millennials being printed on labels of soda bottles with the imperative for consumers to "share" a coke with someone with those names. Before this campaign, 50 percent of the young people in Australia had never even tasted a Coke. As Lucie Austin, a Coca Cola brand executive said:


"We gave consumers an opportunity to express themselves through a bottle of Coke, and to share the experience with someone else. The campaign capitalized on the global trend of self-expression and sharing, but in an emotional way."


This small 2011 Australian campaign was hugely successful and ultimately ended up being an excellent test market for the "Share a Coke" concept. Since then, Coca Cola has expanded it to over 70 countries.


The campaign came to the United States in the summer of 2014 with a limited release of the 500 most common Millennial first names. It was not long before consumers were scouring convenience stores and groceries for their own names and those of their friends and loved ones. The U.S campaign was an amazing success and resulted in an increase in sales of Coca Cola products for the first time in a year 10-year period, while sales of competitor brands Pepsi and Dr. Pepper Snapple remained negative.


Since then, the "Share a Coke" campaign has expanded in the U.S each subsequent year. In 2015, 1,000 names were made available. Eventually, Coca Cola provided a website where consumers could order personalized Coca Cola products with certain hard-to-find names. In 2016, "Share a Coke" was back, but with the twist of printing popular song lyrics on the bottles. In 2017, Coca Cola expanded the "Share a Coke" campaign in multiple ways. The personalized products were expanded to Coke Life and Cherry Coke, in addition to the previously offered Coca Cola Classic, Coke Zero and Diet Coke. The list was further expanded to include more than 77 percent of the first names of Americans between the ages of 13 and 34. Also in line with the musical theme from the previous year, Coca Cola produced over 1,000 personalized jingles, from 25 different musical tracks and nine different singers. Consumers could find jingles for names like Johnny and Megan on the Coca Cola website. The jingles covered a wide range of musical genres from country western to reggae. Another innovation was printing the names of vacation hot spots including Hawaii, Bali, Ibiza and Miami. Consumers could enter a code from their Coca Cola products in a dedicated website to win trips to those locations.


Coca Cola has made various adaptations to best fit local and cultural preferences in different countries. According to Ajay Bathija, Marketing Director of Coca Cola India:


"We did not want to copy/paste the global campaign and decided to add an Indian flavour to it. Our consumer research showed that relationships in the country are becoming more informal than before and we wanted to highlight it. Our study also showed that many teenagers in India perceive their relationships differently; for example the word "Dad" means not just an ATM but also their champ to them. This campaign is talking about the changing relationships of young India."


Therefore, in India, some labels include local slang for parents, such as Papa, Didi and Bhai, along with popular names across 11 different languages spoken in India.


In South Africa, consumers were having trouble finding their names due to such a wide variety of local tribes within their country. As a solution, Coca Cola introduced voice-activated vending machines that allowed consumers to print their own names on 200ml cans. These innovative machines caught on and produced cans at a rate of about six cans per minute, roughly double the international standard of three cans per minute.


Launched in Vietnam and spread to markets throughout ASEAN countries, with a wide variety of languages, a focus was put on using emoticons on the bottles in a variation of the campaign called "Share a Feeling." Emoticons were thought to be a universal language that young people can use to express themselves. According to Pratik Thakar, head of Creative Content & Design Excellence, ASEAN & APAC:


"Emoticons have become a perfect sharing platform, sharing of human feelings. It transcends language barriers and has pretty much become a part of popular culture across most ASEAN markets."


In each country, Coca Cola has used a quiet launch, which actually leads to more word-of-mouth (WOM) sharing because consumers are more likely to spread information they perceive to have discovered on their own before others. Promotional samples are sent to local opinion leaders, including celebrities like American actress Emma Roberts, and Bollywood actor Tahir Raj Bhasin, to create buzz. The name of the campaign itself, "Share a Coke," is a powerful call to action itself. The hashtag #ShareaCoke boosted the spreadability of the campaign as consumers would often post selfies with the bottles with their name on the label. For example, 25 million new followers liked Coca Cola on Facebook on the first year of the campaign. By 2016, over 600,000 pictures were shared on Instagram with the hashtag #ShareaCoke.


With such great success of the "Share a Coke" campaigns, Coca Cola gives no indication that the campaign expansions will slow or stop any time soon. This will be an interesting case to watch unfold into the future.

  

Questions 1 to 4 refers to the case above:  

Q1.  Applying Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which of the needs does the "Share a Coke" satisfy? Explain your answer.


Q2.Which of the components of the Tri-Component Attitude Model does Coca-Cola focus on in the "Share a Coke" campaign? Justify your answer.                   

Q3.a.How did Coca-Cola use celebrity sources?                           

Q3.b.     Why would these celebrity endorsers be effective?             

Q4.Coca-Cola appears to have no plans to discontinue the "Share a Coke" expansions in the near future. What recommendations would you have for future iterations?

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