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Share an Interactive Experience: Coke’s latest marketing genius

August 20, 2014

The venerable cola company is embracing social media like never before.

You don’t earn the kind of name recognition that Coca-Cola has without knowing your product, your audience, and your brand. They’ve kept their messaging memorable across numerous inventive campaigns including Open Happiness, Reasons to Believe, and now Share a Coke. With this latest marketing initiative, Coke is exploiting the power of social media and experiential marketing, understanding that the┬áreal value of creating an experiential rather than passive advertising campaign lies in the fact that it allows your audience to interact, feeling directly involved as a result.┬áThis is the genius behind Coca-Cola’s latest marketing hit.

So what’s the campaign?

The Share a Coke campaign is notably different than past campaigns in many ways, and is even being hailed by some industry experts as groundbreaking. After having been launched to much critical success in Australia and, later, the United Kingdom, Coca Cola brought Share a Coke across the pond for the first time this year. If you’ve been living under a rock, Share a Coke features revamped cans and bottle labels that implore consumers to share a Coke with someone with a certain name or from a particular group. You might be asked to share a Coke with Adam, Alison, Andrea, or Brad, or even just Friends or Family. There’s 290 of Canada’s most popular names available, and on the off-chance you can’t find one for yourself or whomever you may want to share the brown bubbly beverage with, there’s an app to create customized cans. Or you can head over to their online bottle customization tool and share a virtual Coke. It’s a well-coordinated, global logistical effort, with Coke kiosks visiting major summer events in cities across the country, where you can queue up to get personalized mini cans, and in some cases, have a photo snapped with your name in an enormous ad on an electronic billboard behind you. It’s also a campaign that’s been mightily well received on social media, even if it’s a recycled idea originally from down under, where it earned Coke an 870% increase in Facebook traffic, a 7% increase in adult consumption, and, most importantly, a 3% uptick in sales.

Allright, but what’s so great about it?

What’s wonderful about the Share a Coke campaign is how perfectly it illustrates the tremendous impact that building an experience around a product can have. Share a Coke isn’t just commercials and billboards where people passively receive the message and then promptly forget it; this is marketing that engages the audience, leveraging the power of social media to draw people into the campaign in an incredibly personal way and making them feel like part of a much wider community instead of just another customer. To reinforce this feeling of community amongst followers, Coke has set up a share gallery as part of the campaign website where fans can submit pictures of themselves with a personalized can. If you want a more independent example of the reach this campaign has, hit any of the major social media sites (and even some of the lesser known ones), and you’ll see exactly how ubiquitous #ShareaCoke has become.

Moreover, it’s an innovative, interactive campaign that people will remember. Coke managed to create memories around its product in a tangible, experiential way. This is the power of social media; it allows your audience to interact with your campaign in a very direct way and feel personally involved, creating customer and brand loyalty that simply cannot be matched by any other medium.

If you’d like to create an interactive product experience for your audiences, contact us at