Share a Coke with Your Name on it: Getting Personal with VDP and Integrated Marketing



Personalized CokeAfter success in Australia, South Africa, the UK and dozens of other countries, Coke is finally releasing personalized Coke in the US this summer of 2014 – and it seems to be a social media hit (at least judging by my Facebook newsfeed.) 250 of the most popular names for millenials and teens will be found on 20 oz. bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Zero. You can check online to see if your name will be on the bottles, and you can personalize virtual bottles to share via social media as well. But don’t get too creative – to avert potential viral disasters, the website will not generate any name not in their approved database! 😉
So why not get variable?

(The following article was first posted in 2013.)

Variable Data Packaging?
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Variable Data Printing is a proven catalyst in effective marketing – when properly executed, research indicates that response rates can be increased by as much as 30% with VDP. Now corporations are discovering creative new ways to combine personalized content with both online and print communications for a truly integrated marketing outreach. With the dominance of social media, consumers are beginning to expect (or in marketing-speak, “demand”) a personally targeted appeal from their advertisers. And who is more successful at branding and effective marketing than Coca-Cola?

But, VDP packaging? Well, in a way…. In Australia, and now the UK, Coke is putting out millions of bottles bearing, rather than their iconic logo, 150 names as a way to “personalize” their packaging. Coke enjoys such a universally established brand recognition that they can even remove their logo from their products and still count on consumer loyalty. The campaign is called “Share A Coke”, and as a truly integrated concept, it combines the product packaging with an online site where you can create a “virtual personalised Coke can” if you are unable to find the name you are looking for among the 150 choices. Outdoor ads, and social media also drive the campaign. The video below shares how Coke anticipated the buzz generation on Twitter to further build consumer interaction:

After a successful run in Australia, Coke is repeating the project in the UK. Now, a true VDP product packaging would require the Coke bottles to be printed with the customer’s name before rolling out of the vending machine – an expensive proposition – but the success of this semi-VDP approach highlights some important ideas:

  • the power of variable data personalization in affecting consumer choice,
  • an increasing consumer expectation that we can share a personal interaction with what was previously an unreachable corporate entity when it comes to our consumer purchasing power. The buzzword is “engagement,” and consumers are realizing their new role involves more than passive consumption, but can also include interaction and influence.
  • the value of finding ways to initiate the power and outreach of social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to your marketing advantage


Share a Coke campaign
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