It was, without doubt, a game changer for the digital print industry and direct to consumer campaigns. Coca-Cola’s award winning ShareaCoke campaign broke down the historical barriers between brands and consumers creating a level of personal engagement never seen before and in doing so, increased Coca-Cola’s sales for the first time in 12 years.
I am proud to say I was part of the team that brought the online ShareaCoke campaign to Europe in 2014 and I eagerly awaited the follow-up. But then it stopped. Went away. Never to be seen again apparently.
As I understand it, the oxygen for marketers is the invention, the next big idea, the world-class innovation. With this desire to keep moving forwards, however, comes a lingering doubt – should we walk on the same grass twice and go back to one of, if not THE most successful marketing campaigns in our recent history? Well, it turns out the answer is……Yes, We Can! So this summer in the UK, we are seeing the latest iteration of ShareaCoke to hit the shelves in the form of bottles with carefully selected holiday destinations printed on the labels in place of the famous Coca-Cola logo.
But is this personalisation? Is this even evolution? As a consumer, I’m a little disappointed, to be honest and as a public speaker on personalisation and the numerous levels of engagement it can offer to brands – I just expected more from Coke. For me, it’s just a little bit safe and despite referring to everyone’s travel habits, it’s just a little bit …un-adventurous! As the print industry continues to work at breakneck speed to invent, create, execute and fulfill some cutting edge examples of personalisation using digital print – to me this seems a bit….analogue!
The 2014 campaign excited people all over the world to have a bottle of Coke with their name on it and in fact, for some people, these have become collector’s items. However, there is so much more scope in 2017 to use revolutionary techniques in print and have these as part of the labels. Imagine clinking together two bottles of Coke and activating an AR experience from a chip embedded in the label – opening up an app on your phone and sharing direct to social media your own “ personal “ experience with your friends.
Imagine being able to go online to a dedicated site and design your own unique label and write a personalised message on your label. A song lyric from the first dance at your wedding that means everything to you perhaps, or a line from a movie that you saw with your boyfriend/girlfriend on a first date and is a core memory for you both. This is where personalisation is going and is truly where its added value can be unlocked as it allows the extra thought put into the gift to be highlighted.
I know am lucky as I see the innovation as it happens and can’t wait for the major global brands to deploy it on their products and packaging and the print network around the world to take advantage of consumers desire for all things personalised. So in the meantime, I will join the crowds and go shopping for a bottle of Barbados and see if that feels like the real thing…
By Richard Askam