Sodas and Significance

Sodas and Significance

Call me a cynic, but I wasn’t impressed when I first saw Coke’s new advertising campaign. ‘Share a Coke with a friend? Huh,’ I thought, ‘that’s never going to work. Who wants to share a Coke? What’s the point of telling people to buy a Coke to share instead of one each?’ Surely this was going to backfire hugely.

Instead it has been incredibly successful. Partly because I was right, people don’t share a Coke with their friend, but when they find one with their friend’s name on they will at the very least take a photo of it. These photos will then be texted, tweeted, Instagrammed and Facebooked, reaching a wider and wider audience. If marketing is about getting your product in front of people’s eyes, I’d say these guys were making a pretty good stab of it.

More than just taking and sharing photos, though, people are actually buying the product, too. Several of my friends have done this, either drinking the Coke and giving the friend the empty bottle or actually buying a bottle they never intended to and giving it as a gift. Over the course of a few weeks, one friend managed to find every name in her office. She took pictures of her colleagues with the bottles and posted a collage of them all on twitter.

Maybe all those purchases were ones she would have made anyway, but at the very least it brought Coke to the front of her friends’ minds, left them with a positive feeling about the product and gave Coke a bit of free publicity.

I haven’t seen my name on a bottle (yet!), but I know I’ll get a buzz of pleasure if someone sends me a picture of one. I know it’s a marketing ploy, I know the CocaCola executives weren’t thinking of me when they crafted that label, but I will still feel special, noticed.

I’ll feel noticed and appreciated by the friend who sees the bottle, thinks of me, takes the picture and sends it, but I’ll also, irrationally, feel the same about the CocaCola Corporation.

What Coke have managed to tap into is that regardless of how people feel about that particular fizzy drink, people like themselves, they like each other and they like relationship. We love to feel noticed, because feeling noticed makes us feel significant and ‘Am I significant?’ is one if those deep questions that we all spend our lives trying to answer.

A product that answers that question with a resounding ‘yes’ is bound to be popular, and if it can do it while encouraging sharing and altruism rather than, like a certain cosmetics line, by promoting self-regard (‘Because you’re worth it’), it’s onto a winner.

Well done, whoever came up with that campaign. I think you earned your annual bonus this year. And if anyone can find a bottle with my name on, do send me a picture, won’t you?!

Picture Credit: ‘Share a Coke with Adam’ by Adam Bowie (Creative Commons)

4 Comments On This Topic
  1. Judith Barnett
    on Jul 5th at 11:23 am

    May be it’s because I am a Christian, or may be I am just getting good at reading between the lines but I read this and thought “yes, AND I am known by the Kings of Kings, He loves me and has called me by name”.
    God loves names, there are lists and lists of them in the bible, but I am not one of many He knows me, personally, he knows all about me and even collects all my tears. And my significance is in Him. Everything else is a quick fix, my only lasting significance is in Jesus – he won me at great cost on the cross. That was the most significant thing anyone ever did for me. If my life counts to God, then my life and my name matter.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on Jul 5th at 11:40 am

      Brilliant! Yes, that’s so true. The creators of a Coke can may not really know your name, but the creator of the universe does – amazing!

      Thanks for sharing, and I like the comment about reading between the lines – I see what you did there! 😉

  2. Father Stephen
    on Jul 6th at 11:07 am

    OK all you readers of Jennie’s blog. Here’s the Coke challenge for today. In order to make Jennie feel very, very significant please contact Coca-Cola and ask them (a) to produce a bottle with her name on, and (b) feature it for 24 hrs in the pictures they project onto their head-office building in Atlanta, Georgia
    see here >>>

    • Jennie Pollock
      on Jul 9th at 3:53 pm

      Wow, that would be cool!
      I think they’d also need to pay for me to fly out to Atlanta and see it, to make me feel really significant, though! 😉


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