Globally, consumer goods companies have since recognized the increasing sophistication of their target markets and are going above and beyond normal advertising, marketing and sales “strategies” to attract consumers and build brand loyalty. Today, the adjective “creative” is no longer strong enough to describe what can turn consumers on. The new normal has to reflect an unusual wow factor as to be able to distract consumers from the plethora of sights, sounds and trends that define today’s lifestyle.

A number of brands have done well in this area in recent times, for instance Samsung launched the NX camera range with the innovative campaign “We Are David Bailey” – a campaign that inspired many everyday persons to discover the photographer in them using the high – performing Samsung NX1000; Mini created the memorable #MININOTNORMAL campaign; Channel 4 had the inspirational. “Top Boy: Your Cut”; “Emirates Aviation Experience” campaign was fantastic; Bulmers’ #beginwithabulmers was captivating; while Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” was compelling. These campaigns did not only capture attention both online and offline but also resonated with consumers across different segments of the market.

Just when consumers thought they had seen it all, it emerged that no one had reckoned with the wizardry (it’s really much more than creative genius!) of one of the world’s oldest brands, but whose uncanny ability to retain a youthful appeal across generations remains a conundrum to brand analysts around the world. Of course, I am referring to the inimitable Coca-Cola and its “Share a Coke” campaign!

At the last count, the Share a Coke campaign which debuted in Australia in 2011 had launched in more than 80 countries. Nearly, four years after, the campaign continues to create enduring ripples of excitement wherever it is launched, as consumers and even non-consumers of    Coca-Cola see their names emblazoned on Coca-Cola cans and bottles, in place of the brand’s iconic logo. What is equally touching for most people who are enamoured of the campaign is the feeling that with the message “Share a Coke with …” the brand is giving them a positive recommendation as persons worthy of love and connection.  

How do you get your consumers to continually love your brand and remain loyal? Put their names on an iconic product and bask in the phenomenal reception.

A name is, perhaps, the most personal and treasured possession for most people. The mention of your name is guaranteed to get your attention wherever and whenever. You are most likely to feel favourably disposed to anyone who shows some form of respect or love for your name. We all knew this simple, everyday fact of life. Imagine the feeling of recognition and honour to pick up a product and see your name boldly and deliberately printed on it – like it was made just for you! 

That is the magic factor of the Share a Coke campaign – it strikes an emotional sweet chord in the heart of everyone whose name is on a can or bottle of Coke. Little wonder the campaign is raging like wildfire across the globe. But how come no brand ever thought before now to leverage this universal human vulnerability in the way that Coca-Cola has so brilliantly done with the “Share a Coke” campaign?

The terrific buzz currently being created in Nigeria by the share a Coke campaign since the launch in January 2015 and is now approaching fever pitch, is truly a one-of-a-kind consumer experience that sets a brand above the crowd and earns enduring consumer connection and brand loyalty. The response to the Share a Coke campaign by Nigerian consumers across age and social divides clearly illustrates the child in all of us. 

In many stores, anxious consumers with emotions alternating between excitement and frustration search stacks of Coca-Cola packs for particular names; in selfies pestered all over the social media, celebrities proudly show off cans of Coke heralding their names; having your name on a can of Coke now entitles you to a higher level of swag – a trend which some Pastors have found necessary to preach against, reminding their flocks that having one’s name in the Book of Life is still the ‘real thing’.

An industry watcher, Suyi Adelakun said the Share A Coke campaign clearly shows how much Coca-Cola understands its target market and how far the brand is prepared to go to woo and embrace its consumers in such an intimate way that no other brand has ever dared to imagine. 

“One key take-out is that the campaign leveraged on a trending behaviour which borders on a penchant for personalization” Adelakun noted. He went on to identify the long celebrated practice of going for customized number plates on automobiles, personalized inscriptions on T-shirts as existing consumer behaviour that Share a Coke campaign has mirrored and amplified in an extraordinary way with dramatic result”. 

“A person’s name is his identity- it is personal and special to him or her. Having your name printed on a bottle of Coca-Cola is mind-blowing and tells you the brand recognizes you as a person and not a sales statistic. It is an irresistible overture. More so, this is not just any brand but the very iconic Coca-Cola brand”

On his part, Anayo Anudu, a consumer was quick to say that Coke has pioneered another unforgettable innovation with the Share a Coke campaign which is bound to revolutionize consumer marketing. 

Another consumer, Michael Ani argued that the Nigerian consumer is naturally aspirational. He contended that Nigerians by their behaviour aspire to be what the people they admire or follow are; so if a particular celebrity keys into the Share a Coke campaign you can be sure that a good number of his fans will also key into the campaign. It is not a bandwagon effect; it is simply because by our nature, human beings are imitative.” He stated.

With the Share a Coke campaign, Coca-Cola has earned its stripe as arguably the world’s most seductive brand. These are surely not comfortable times for its competitors.