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Share a Coke U.S. push enlists QR codes, new ads and social media

Coca-Cola is bringing its successful Share a Coke campaign to the United States for the first time, giving consumers here a chance to purchase bottles featuring popular names and to engage with the brand via a variety of mobile and social activations.

The Share a Coke program, which swaps out the brand?s logo for popular names on bottles of Coca-Cola, proved successful for the company in other countries last year. The U.S. incarnation of it features 250 names popular among teens and millennials, with consumers able to scan a QR code to send a coupon as well as personalizes their own virtual bottles and share them via social media.

?The ?Share a Coke? program was first introduced in Australia in 2012,? said Lauren Thompson, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman. ?Since then, the company has helped people ?Share a Coke? ? and a little happiness ? in over 50 countries around the world, including New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Great Britain, Turkey, Germany, Spain and Chile .

? Every country is a little different, but the foundation is the same across the board,? she said. ?In the U.S., the 250 names available on 20-ounce bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero reflect the country?s teen and Millennial population.

?We also will have unique creative, point-of-sale displays and in store merchandising, as well as a Coca-Cola Freestyle activation. Fans who have the Coca-Cola Freestyle app on their mobile phone can scan a QR code on the dispenser?s home screen, follow the prompts and send a friend a coupon for $1 off a 20-ounce Coke.?

Enjoying the moment

The goal of the campaign is to create occasions between people during the summer that focus on enjoying the moment.

The first names will be featured on 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero. Additionally, group names such as ?Family? and ?Friends? will appear on 1.25- and 2-liter bottles.

Colloquial nicknames such ?BFF,? ?Star,? ?Bestie,? ?Legend,? ?Grillmaster,? ?Buddy? and ?Wingman? will be found on 12-ounce cans while eight-ounce glass bottle carriers will encourage consumers to ?Share a Coke.?

For Coca-Cola fans who have the Coca-Cola Freestyle app on their mobile phone, they will be able to scan a QR code on the home screen of Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain dispensers, follow the prompts and send a friend a coupon for a free 20-ounce Coke.

Personalized virtual bottles
Consumers can also use the campaign?s hashtag, #ShareaCoke, to share stories and photos while having a chance to be featured on Coca-Cola billboards across the country and the gallery.

On the campaign?s microsite,, consumers will be able to personalize virtual bottles beginning June 12 and share them with friends across Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.

Visitors to the site also can find out which names are available in-stores.

The campaign also includes the Share a Coke tour, with more than 500 stops where people can customize a Coca-Cola mini can for themselves and a second can for someone special.

The campaign will be supported through a nationwide advertising and marketing campaign, including a nine-week roll out of all-new television commercials, cinema ads, social and digital engagement, interactive/digital billboards and experiential activations.

International strategy
Coca-Cola is also using mobile in unique ways to promote the Share a Coke program in other countries.

In China, the company has put lines from popular songs on bottles of soda, allowing for on-demand access to content and creating a shareable experience via popular social application WeChat (see story).

In Britain, the program will feature up to 1,000 personalized bottles, a mobile optimized Web site, a digital application for tracking down bottles with specific names, social video and digital content (see story).

?On June 16, fans can experience the campaign online at by personalizing virtual bottles and sharing them with friends across Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. Website visitors also can find out which names are available in stores,? Ms. Thompson said.

In addition, people can use the campaign?s hashtag #ShareaCoke to celebrate stories, share photos and get a chance to be featured on Coca-Cola billboards across the country and the gallery,? she said. ?Each week we?ll highlight new fan-submitted #ShareaCoke photos on Coke Digital Network out-of-home across the country.

?Fans can Share a real Coke with friends on Twitter by simply connecting a credit card to their Twitter account and sending a message via @TweetACoke to a friend. The recipient gets a coupon for a Coke at any Regal Cinemas location.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York