The Name Game- Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke Summer Ad Campaign

share coke


From mindless doodles, to large scale graffiti; us humans have somewhat of an obsession with our own names. We can all recall the glee we experienced as a kid when finding our names on Alice bands, novelty notebooks or pens. And it’s this theme of “consumer identity” which has formed the backbone of Coca Cola’s summer campaign.

Coca Cola’s decision to drop their own brand name from the side of their bottles and replace it with its customer names has also boosted their social media presence and online traffic. Using the hashtag #shareacoke consumers are encouraged to share pictures of themselves with their personalised bottles.


How did the #Shareacoke campaign begin?

The #shareacoke campaign was initiated in Australia in 2011 after it was drawn to Coca Cola’s attention that teens and young adults were neither engaging with their brand nor consuming their products; with over 50% of 18-25 year olds admitting to not buying Coca Cola in over a month.

Coca Cola engineered the campaign to land directly in the laps of their teen demographic. They realised that this market connected the most through social media, and launched the #shareacoke campaign across multiple social platforms as a result.

They then chose to print the 250 most common names of teens and young adults across their products; names such as Susan and Brenda were rejected in favour of Daryl and three variations of the name Abbie.

Coca Cola name tags

With a dedicated website, and a brand promise to feature real social media pictures on their billboard advertisements, Coca Cola’s #shareacoke campaign gained huge traction online; with photos flooding in from all areas of the globe.

They successfully tapped into the idea of personalisation; a concept which has proven to be very popular if you’ll believe some studies which reveal that 78% of consumers are more interested in building a relationship with brands which create unique and personalised content (Hanley-Wood Business Media, 2013).

Some might say Coca Cola’s tactics were a bit risky. Others would say they’re pure genius. Coca cola created an exclusive product purely to be inclusive. Using terms like Bestie, Mum, Sis and Dad, they made sure everyone could relate to their product.


The power of the Coca Cola brand

Coca Cola successfully encouraged millions of people to market their brand via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This not only represents the power of their ad campaign, but also reflects the strength of their brand as a whole.

A study in The Guardian recently found that 69% of all three-year-olds could identify the McDonald’s golden arches – while half of all four-year-olds did not know their own name. This just proves the power of major, global advertising.

And, this is likely the case with Coca Cola. Their product is so distinctive and iconic, that they could afford to drop their brand name from the #shareacoke campaign entirely.

It’s likely that most audiences unable to identify their own name on the Coca Cola bottle were still be able recognise the product. In fact, I’ll bet that there were even parents using Coca Cola to teach their children their own name (not that we encourage it!).


#Shareacoke campaign: Was it a success?

Coca Cola wanted their personalised bottles to be talked about widely on social media, and their engaging marketing strategy worked.

Not only did the Guardian report that the campaign resulted in over 18,300,000 impressions – the #shareacoke campaign saw traffic on the Coca Cola Facebook site increased by 870%.

Not long after it’s launch, the #shareacoke campaign consumption was also up 7%, resulting in the most successful summer sales in Australia on record ( It rocketed the Coca Cola Facebook page up the ranks to the 23rd most talked about page globally- despite the campaign only being in Australia at this point.

Coca Cola received overwhelmingly positive feedback on social media. Their Facebook page saw an 18% increase in brand positivity, with the #shareacoke ad campaign specifically receiving 96% of either neutral or positive responses (Wall Street Journal).

According to the Guardian, their Facebook page grew also 39%. Due to the success in Australia, the campaign was rolled out globally in the subsequent years.


 Coca Cola’s Facebook fans in 2014

Graph showing the increase in likes on Coca Cola’s Facebook page in 2014


Coca Cola dominated social media with the #shareacoke campaign

Coca Cola managed to dominate social media and rule direct engagement, with up to 83% of their Tweets being direct responses.

They succeeded in making a global brand relatable, successfully dwarfed their competitor’s summer campaigns, and, once more, solidified their position as one of the world’s most recognised brands.