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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Unless you have a pretty powerful aversion to cola flavoured carbonated drinks you will have probably seen the latest marketing technique that Coca-Cola are using on their bottles. The decision to include 250 different names on the front of their iconic labels has sparked a social sharing frenzy along with queues in your local corner shop of people searching for their moniker amongst the fridges.
So with people all over the world plastering the walls of their social media accounts with pictures of coke bottles and more and more consumers purchasing a bottle of coke as they pass the shop just because they notice their own name or that of a friend; have Coca-Cola proved that personalisation is the key to a successful marketing campaign?










Why Does This Appeal? 

The best thing about product personalisation is that it follows the golden rule of both PR and marketing: address the consumer directly. Instead of the pronoun ‘you’ though this campaign goes one better by using the actual person’s name to make them feel unique, special and like that particular bottle was created especially for them.
The use of people’s name also makes it so much more powerful on social media as it encourages sharing in both a virtual and physical way. A picture of a normal Coke bottle is unlike to spark much interest on sites like Facebook or Instagram but when you add the name of your best friend to it and then post it on their wall a chain reaction ensues. This in essence creates a self-perpetuating process whereby everyone is posting with pride that they have found their own name or with relish that they have discovered a friends name when they couldn’t find it themselves.



A Personalisation Problem

There is however a problem with this kind of campaign when it comes to the fact that there are only 250 names emblazoned across these bottles but far more in existence. Therefore people with those names that are slightly less common are feeling left out of this latest marketing stunt and are having to make do with a name that slightly resembles their own or having to create a whole new persona for themselves in order to feel like they fit in.
Having said this though; the drink inside the bottle still tastes the same regardless of what it says on the front so most people have been happy to grab any name that takes their fancy and enjoy their favourite fizzy drink. And Coca-Cola themselves have moved to address this issue by first releasing 100 new names after the initial 150 that they chose and then by arranging a tour of Britain’s towns and cities to create customised bottles for anybody whose name doesn’t currently feature in the range.



Not As Original As You Might Think 

Although this is the most advertised and widespread use of product personalisation that most of us have ever seen; we cannot pretend that it is an entirely original PR and marketing technique. Souvenir shops have been selling key rings and other knickknacks with people’s names on them since time began and other online retailers have had this as an optional extra on certain products for a while now too. There are even online sellers who have dedicated their whole business to inscribing certain gifts with the name of the recipient to great effect. Last year Cadbury did a similar thing to what Coca-Cola are doing when they decided to send all of the team GB gold medal winners personalised giant bars of chocolate in what was more of an understated campaign.

However, the latest move by Coca-Cola is definitely on a larger scale and has no doubt taken product personalisation to the next level. The fact that this is more of an everyday affordable product means that it has been well received by the target audience and everyone has joined in with the ‘craze’ that they have created. It may not have opened up a whole new market for Coca-Cola (largely because there can’t be many people out there who are still oblivious to the mammoth drinks company) but I’m sure it has resulted in a rocketing of summer sales.
So will this now spark a trend across other forms of product packages and will other brands and specialist PR agencies alike start to use similar techniques to market their products to the masses? Is it something that you can see your business adopting in the future? Only time will tell whether this is set to change the way we sell our products in a continually competitive market.


Author Bio:

Chris Mayhew knows the power of advertising and thinks that personalised product packaging is the next step in successful marketing. He would recommend Eclat Marketing to any technology company looking for innovative ways to build public relations.

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