Global icon, Coca-Cola has moved to deepen consumer intimacy with an exotic initiative that makes each consumer own the brand, writes …

Wearing a brand is a common phenomenon, in fact; what readily comes to mind within Lagos social scene is the customization of T-shirt’s. In this part of the country and pretty much elsewhere within Nigeria; people love dressing in customised clothes, particularly with inscriptions for occasions such as birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, pre-wedding parties, bachelors’ night grooves, pre wedding photo shoots etc. Commonly known as Asho Ebi in Yoruba, it literally translates to family cloth. This has become popular culture because it bestows on the wearers a sense of belonging to the course at hand, thus strengthening family ties and social relationships.

Coca-Cola has written a new chapter in social networking and self esteem in Nigeria with the ‘Share A Coke’ initiative. This allows the leading manufacturer of carbonated soft drinks customise its brands in the names of ordinary people. This sees the names of people printed on the bottles that they can buy and share with friends and family at events as listed above. This is definitely exciting and since this was launched in Lagos, Nigeria in January 2015, many people have shown much eagerness to find their names on the Coca-Cola bottle to share with friends and family

Exciting as this idea is, many people are asking ‘how did it evolve?’ 

Sources at Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited disclose that the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was first introduced in Australia in 2011 and has since then launched in over 50 countries around the world, including New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Great Britain, Turkey, Germany, Spain and Chile recording outstanding success along the way.

The train finally paused here in Nigeria on 10th of January, when it was officially launched in a country of 102 ethnic groups and 521 languages. To kick-off the campaign, Coca-Cola carefully selected from an array of names from the various ethnic nationalities that make up the nation-state, Nigeria. 

According to the communications manager at Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Sam Umukoro, following a scientific research on Nigerian names, 400 most popular names were chosen for the 50cl PET, 163 generic names for bottle crowns and 53 generic names on cans. 

Coca-Cola did not stop at these few names, though, taking into account the fact that there are other consumers and potential consumers who would not have their names amongst the ones chosen for the customised bottles. So Coca-Cola Nigeria has created an avenue for consumers who do not find their names on the bottles to have the chance to create their own personal Coke. This will be done during the nationwide activation which commences on February 2, 2015.

The ‘Share A Coke Campaign’ transforms the global Coca-Cola brand into a personal experience. The marketing director at Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Patricia Jemibewon, has this to say on the initiative: “Share A Coke transforms the global Coca-Cola brand into a special, personal experience for our consumers.”

Coca-Cola’s decision to set its logo with along each consumer’s name will enable consumers connect and share their ‘personal coke’ with the people that matter the most to them. “By swapping our iconic Coca-Cola logo with personal names, we give all our consumers a unique opportunity to connect and share their personalized Coke with the people who matter the most to them - friends, family and loved ones, either in person, or virtually”, Jemibewon added.

The happiness of sharing a coke with a consumer’s name on it has since grown like a virus around town. As major malls and supermarkets are crowded with enthusiastic consumers buying Coke, not only do they want to drink from ‘their’ Coke bottle but also want to buy and share with friends.

Celebrities are not an exception. At the break of the Share a Coke Campaign, the PR stunts of delivering personalized coke delighted Nigerian celebrities a great deal as they took to their social media sites to show off their personalized bottles.

Soon enough, given the culture of partying in Nigeria, we might soon see our parties serve personalized coke bottles bearing names of celebrants. One thing is guaranteed, consumers will ensure that these memories are well preserved thereby.

It is safe to say that the share a coke campaign has come to stay on the global scene and it is about to file Nigeria under its belt of success stories.