Public Relations: Personal Destination.

“Share a Coke with…”

Seeing "Red"....

Post-Polar Bear, Coca-Cola had established itself, not only as a global brand, but as a philanthropic empire.

Although Coca-Cola’s popularity has always remained intact, the company has continuously strived to maintain a connection with their consumers. In a time where social media usage and engagement was booming, Coca-Cola was able to use this communication advancement to their advantage by letting their consumers actively engage with the brand, via social media, on a personal level.

Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) state that in 2008, 75% of internet users were engaged with “Social Media” (p. 59) and many companies were discovering that the gap between consumers and stakeholders was growing smaller, due to increased online engagement.

Growing Social Media

In 2011, developed in the ‘backyard’ of Australia, the ‘Share a Coke with…’ campaign was launched. What made this campaign so effective was its personalisation – through the Coke logo being replaced with a name, and the element of surprise.

The video “How we pulled off Share a Coke” describes how the idea of the campaign was implemented and what the successful result of the campaign was.

“How we pulled off Share a Coke” explains the production process between making an idea into a reality. From a producer and stakeholder point of view, the complexities of executing such a task does not come without the risk of the brand’s image and reputation.

From the consumer’s perspective, the ‘Share a Coke…’ campaign would prove to be successful in building the relationship between stakeholders and publics through social media.

With 50% of Australian’s young people not even having tasted Coke, Coca-Cola had to do something innovative in order to reconnect and make new connections with consumers.

The personalisation and humanisation of content is more likely to establish a connection with the audience, and result in what is being presented to be absorbed and shared (Solis & Breakenridge 2009, p. 111).

As described in the video, Coca-Cola effectively used consumers to create their own “buzz” about the personalisation of Coke via social media.

For a company that would have spent millions on media and advertising in the past, this time Coca-Cola let consumers generate hype about the campaign on the internet by posting, blogging, sharing and inviting.

The personalisation of the Coke label, combined with a consumer generated, social media campaign, brought together the contact and engagement between publics and stakeholders with huge success. Evidence of this can be seen from the over 250 million Coke products sold in an Australian population of 23 million during the campaign.


Text reference:

Kaplan, A. M & Haenlein, M 2010, ‘Users of the world unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media’, Business Horizons, vol. 53, no. 1, p. 59

Solis, B & Breakenridge, D. K 2009, ‘Putting the public back in public relations: How social media is reinventing the aging business of P’, FT Press, p. 111


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