Summer of Sharing: ’Share a Coke’ Campaign Rolls Out in the U.S.

Americans can now get on a first-name basis with their bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

This summer, Coke is swapping out three of its iconic logos on 20-oz. bottles for the 250 most popular first names among American teens and Millennials. “Share a Coke”, which first launched in Australia in 2012 and has since rolled out in more than 50 countries, invites fans to find their names — and the names of family members, friends, coworkers and people they’d like to know better — on bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Zero across the U.S.

“Summer is the perfect time to get together with others and share moments of happiness over an ice-cold Coke at barbecues, sporting events, family reunions, amusement park outings and other gatherings,” said Stuart Kronauge, senior vice president, sparkling brands, Coca-ColaNorth America. “Now, enjoying a Coke with your name on it and sharing the occasion with someone else makes these moments even more special.”

Shareable 1.25- and 2-liter bottles will sport group names like “Family” and “Friends”, and colloquial nicknames like “BFF,” “Star,” “Bestie,” “Legend,” “Grillmaster,” “Buddy” and “Wingman” will appear on 12-oz. cans. The terms will express each brand’s individual personality.

“Share a Coke” packaging will roll out nationwide in June and will remain on the shelves through August. The campaign will come to life online and via social media, too. Starting Thursday, fans can visit to personalize virtual bottles and share them with friends via Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.

By using the #ShareaCoke hashtag, consumers can share their stories and photos for the chance to be featured on interactive Coke billboards across the country. Fans also can share a (real) Coke with friends on Twitter by linking a credit card to their Twitter account and sending a message via @TweetACoke to a friend. The recipient will receive a coupon for a Coke at any Regal Cinemas location. And anyone with the free Coca-Cola Freestyle mobile app can scan a QR code on the fountain dispenser’s touch screen and send a friend a coupon for a $1 off a 20-oz. Coke.

Kronauge said the campaign puts a modern, youthful twist on the brand’s 128-year legacy of bringing people together and making them feel special. “For teens and Millennials, personalization is not a fad, it’s a way of life,” she adds. “It’s about self-expression, individual storytelling and staying connected with friends. ‘Share a Coke’ taps into all of those passions.”

Initial response across social media has been strong, according to Jennifer Healan, group director, integrated marketing content and design, Coca-Cola North America.

“‘Share a Coke’ is designed to get people talking and sharing,” she said. “When teens see that the iconic Coca-Cola logo has been replaced by their name or their friends’ names, they can’t help but take a picture and post it online.”

Coke will amplify and curate the #ShareaCoke conversation via its social channels.

“We’ll not only be talking about the names on bottles, but also putting a great deal of focus on celebrating real moments of sharing and the stories behind them,” Healan adds. “We’ll highlight the best examples to encourage sharing among our fans and followers and inspire teens to recreate these sharing moments with their friends.”

Momentum is expected to build as more personalized packs reach the market and a multifaceted advertising campaign kicks off on July 1.

A 500-stop, cross-county “Share a Coke” tour featuring traveling kiosks will enable fans to customize a Coca-Cola mini can for themselves and a second can for someone special. The tour will satisfy fans who can’t find their names on store shelves.