The Coca-Cola company was established back in 1886 and it is most famous of creating the soft drink Coca Cola. Based on a global brand study, Coca Cola was the world’s most valuable brand in 2011. Though, just like all those “old” and well developed brands, Coca Cola is facing aging problem, a disconnection with the younger generation and it seems like people are not picking up coca cola as a trendy drink and a sign of coolness anymore as there are so many other drinks available in the market nowaday. In order to make the brand’s image younger, Coca Cola started a campaign back in 2011 called “Share a Coke”, internally known as “Project Connect”. It is a worldwide campaign that started with their Australia team and in 2014 the campaign has finally reached Hong Kong. There are two objectives for this campaign, to get the attention of the younger generation and to make them feel like Coca Cola is still a trendy and cool thing to be talking about and another communication objective for the campaign is really just to have everyone to talk about Coca Cola again, both in the real and virtual world.
As mentioned, Coca cola is trying to get collection with young people again and to make Coca Cola the cool thing to be talking about among people, so the target audience of the campaign is young adults focusing on demographic of 18 – 25 years old, who is health consumers, affluent and really is the current and future major stakeholders for the brand. In order to bring people together to “Share a Coke”, Coca Cola swapped out Coke’s classic label on bottles and cans with 200 of Hong Kong’s most popular nick names, like “女皇 (queen), “Gag 王 (joke maker)”, ”Buddy”, “粉絲(fans)”, “達人(expert)”, “女神 (goddess)”, “男神 (god)” or common names like “Yan”, “Wah”, “Lee”, “Fung” and “Ming” or phases like “miss you”, “love you”, “Oh Dear”, “Cheer up” and “I’m yours” etc.
This is one of the strategy that Coca Cola came out to bring together to talk about Coca Cola again, a new concept that Coke came up and wants to promote is “Shareability”. Coca Cola understands the best way to connect people is to have something they can share or even can send it as a gift to their friends and relatives. Moreover, If you can’t find a nick name, common names nor phases that best represent you or your love one? No worries, Coca Cola had created a web page for customers to go online and create a virtual bottle to share it on social media (e.x. facebook, Instagram and Twitter…etc) with their friends and family. Coca Cola would never missed a single person who is interested in “Share a Coke” out.
In other countries, such as the U.S. and U.K., customers with less common names (or basically if you can’t find what you are looking for), they are able to get a mini can customized with their name on it at one of their pop up stops. Because of Hong Kong don’t have the similar promotion, people are starting to sell the service of helping people to order personalized cans and bottles in the U.K. This also helped Coca Cola Hong Kong to create the basic foundation of pull strategy as supply was super limited and it I very time consuming to mail the products from overseas to Hong Kong making the products very hard to get.
Another advantage of the success of the “Share a Coke” campaign overseas is that it offered the Hong Kong campaign a word-of-mouth (WOM) communication and WOM plays an important role as a communications tool in modern marketing. As Kotler (2009) suggests that if an organization can develop a marketing program to harness and accelerate the use of personal recommendation effectively, the more likely it will be that the marketing program will be successful. This also acted as a demand-created pull strategy, as overseas people were gifting that to people who are living in Hong Kong and Hong Kong people were soon demanding to see this unique style of Coca Cola cans in Hong Kong. As soon as people got hold with a can of the personalized Coca Cola, they will share it on Instagram to show people how cool they are.
Indeed, in Hong Kong, before the official campaign launched, Coke partnered with Volkswagen and sent personalized Coke can in a fancy box to younger generation celebrities like Charlene Choi, Gillian Chung, Shiga Lin and PakHo Chau…etc. On the cover of that fancy white box, Coca Cola encouraged celebrities to create a post on Instagram with hashtag shoareacokehk and cocacolahk. This encouragement of sharing those “Share a coke” cans on Instagram or Facebook created another pull strategy which would eventually catching the suppliers’ attention to inquiry to Coca Cola about those unique cans as celebrities are always the focus point for people to follow where the trend is.
After this massive breakthrough, “Share a coke” cans and bottles were then secretly (without any proper announcement” sent to convenience stores like 711, OK and supermarket likes Wellcome and ParknShop. As soon as they were in stock, people started to treasure hunt to trying to “share a coke with their love one and to post it on social platforms”, mainly on Instagram and Facebook. *See below images as examples.
In a situation like this, the push strategy will play its part in meeting the objectives for this campaign which is letting the supplier know the demand for this product which is created by celebrities influences, social media powers and later advertising. Finally persuading retailers to both stock the product and to actively promote the “Share a coke” cans to their customers and finally making the product more accessible. Ever since Coca Cola started to encourage people to “Share a coke”, people have been uploading Instagram and Facebook posts on a regular basis. This is a creative way to make use of the profile strategy as numerous posts will be updated on Instagram everyday automatically under hashtag shareacokehk and cocacolahk and keeping stakeholders/audiences up to date with campaign information and the official Coca Cola Instagram would also share people’s “Share a coke” moment.
This tactic is cost effective for Coca Cola (saved money on hiring a spoke person as many celebrities have automatically became a “spoke person” the moment they shared their personalized Coca Cola), it created a free of charge profile strategy as fans or lay people will soon follow what celebrities are doing and share a coke with their name on social media platform. This “Share a Coke” wave has caught media’s attention as bloggers and magazines were reporting this. Therefore, at a later time, personalized cans were also sent to famous bloggers, magazine editors and particular for those who have a high number of followers/fan base on Instagram.
In order to “officially” announce and position Coca Cola in the minds of consumers with a view to differentiation and to inform prospective customers about the “Share a Coke” campaign, Coca Cola then started to advertise on traditional platform. It aired a television commercial on one of the biggest television channels in Hong Kong-TVB, pointing out the various nickname that people can find to mix and match them. Advertising on national television offer mass coverage, flexible format and uses sight, movement and sound which fit in with the young adult demographic as things like that will attract their attention. They have also created posters telling people to share a coke with their mom and dad to emphasize the objective of this campaign- shareability of the product, to make people talking about Coca Cola again.
Coca Cola also rented several outdoors places at causeway bay (e.x. Sogo), creating a venting machine like billboard starting “Share a coke with the person next to you, Share Coca Cola, Share happiness” and putting all the available names on there for making potential customers aware of the offering. Advertising outdoor creates a good coverage as a support medium and as the location (Sogo, Causeway bay) is where all the young adults go, it creates a perfect interesting background for young adult to take a picture and share it on Instagram as it is not so easy to spot such a large scale Coca Cola machine in your daily life. *See below images as examples.
Ogilvy & Mather (the advertising agency behind all these) had also found Jonathan Mak (who editing the Apple logo in remembrance of Steve Jobs) to design a poster inspired by “Share a Coke” to advertise this campaign. You can see attached, to depict two hands sharing a Coke. This poster has served as something unique, young and trendy to matches with the target audience of the campaign.
Evaluation of effectiveness: should be related to the campaign objectives and the particular tools chosen, e.g. advertising could be post-testing, tracking studies, likeability or enquiry tests. Particular market research techniques using qualitative or quantitative methods should be proposed, e.g. focus groups, surveys.
A researcher quote in Wilson (2006: p.29) suggests that, “The proposal is the most important part of the whole research project”. Before we evaluate the effectiveness of the tools use, let me restate the objective of this campaign again, which is to reconnect with young adults and just have people talking about Coca Cola again. In order to evaluate whether or not the television commercial tool is effective or not, I would use likeability test as to researching to what degree people enjoyed the advertisement and really feel like they have connect with the “Share a coke” campaign. I propose using quantitative research which is described by Wilson (2006) as a structured approach producing quantifiable data for statistical analysis, gathered from a population sample or census.
I propose that we will create a 5 questions questionnaire asking a combination of descriptive and casual questions like “What do you feel about Coca Cola‘s “Share a Coke” campaign”, “Have you watch the TV commercial about “Share a coke””, “Would you consider drinking Coca Cola as a trendy thing after watching the commercial ?”, “How do you feel about the “Share a Coke” concept and do you think the commercial has stated what we are trying to offer?”, “have you shared a coke with anyone after watching the commercial”. I suggest using Facebook as the platform to pass on the questionnaire to random audience that is within the demographic that we are aiming at as it is the most convenient and cost effective way because on Facebook you can set your target audience age to your desired one. Two identical questionnaires should be sent out to the same group of people who are aged between 18-25 across the campaign period to see if the audience has any perception changes over time.
We could also get from the data whether or not we are reaching the right target auidences and whether or not this advertisement is doing what we want it to do. The second tool that we are going to evaluate is Instagram as Coca Cola has created it’s own hashtag for the campaign #shareacokehk and #cocacolahk and as our target audience is young adults, Instagram has been a major communication tools for the demographic. Also, Coca Cola has been posting all updates on its official Instagram page and this should be where we get all the noises from as Coca Cola has posted on all it’s advertising communication tools to share it on Instagram. Morevoer, Coca Cola has emphasized shareability over this campaign so the effective use of Instagram is notwithstanding one of the most important evaluation to do. Using Observation research to collect quantitative data would be a good way to analysis the effectiveness of this heavily used tool.
I suggest for a consecutive of 30 days, researchers to go through around 100 potential hashtags posting on Instagram, starting with the two official hashtags “shareacokehk”, “cocacolahk”, cokehk”, “ilovecoke” then following any potential hashtags such as phases on cans…etc. Researchers will record daily change rate of each hashtag search, we can then compare shareability of each hashtags. We can also record likes from each post and see which personalized cans/bottles grabs the most attention. From the evaluation of the effectiveness of Instagram, we can increase shareability of the campaign (as, again it’s one of the major goal to get people talking about Coca Cola again). With the quantitative data that we got from this research, we can perhaps add more hashtags that people are likely to use and also we could use those information to amend or add in names that are in popular demands to keep the idea fresh.
We could also see whether or not we are hitting on our target audiences. In Conclusion, the “Share a Coke” campaign is a clever idea. It is further proof how something so simple can still create a lot of buzz on the internet and in social settings. This “Share a Coke” campaign has fully fulfilled Fill (2006)’s definition of marketing communications. “A management process through which an organization seeks to engage with its various audiences. To accomplish this, the organization develops, presents and evaluates a series of messages which it sends to and receives from its different audiences. The objective of this process is to position the organization and its offering in the minds of particular audiences and in doing so encourage the development of relationships that are of mutual value.” Coca Cola has proven to us that with the right marketing communication tools, an aging brand can sure be made younger again and reconnect with the younger generation. Have you “Share a Coke” with your loved one today?
http://www.coca-colajourney.com.au/stories/local-idea-goes-global-share-a-coke#TCCC http://www.sor9y.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Screen-Shot-2014-08-24-at-2.06.38am.png http://www.milk.com.hk/content/coca-cola-share-coke-hong-kong-ed http://www.icoke.hk