- Coca-Cola for the first time has inscribed its summer packaging with poetry as it looks to evoke feelings tied to the season, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. The limited-time changes come as Coke expects summer rituals will be appreciated "more than ever before" by consumers, per an announcement.
- Hitting store shelves today (May 17), the "Open for Summer" designs feature 24 short poems tied to occasions such as movie nights, baseball games and backyard barbecues. The designs will appear on regular Coke and Coca-Cola Zero 20-ounce bottles through Aug. 8.
- The packaging play is tied to a "Summer Tastes Better" campaign running across TV and radio. Coke joins other marketers in pushing marketing themed around a reopening as more activities waylaid by the pandemic resume.
While Coke's latest seasonal packaging isn't explicitly about COVID-19, the messaging signals that activities upended by the virus last summer are starting to return. Poems included in the campaign describe scenarios like attending a baseball game in-person that are now more feasible with the widespread distribution of vaccines. Coke is keeping some restrictions in mind — the announcement describes "movie nights" versus going to a theater — but the brand clearly believes consumers will be eager to resume their pre-pandemic rituals.
The news also shows how Coke is continuing to retool its approach to seasonal packaging. For years, the company heralded the return of summer with a "Share a Coke" campaign that showcased a variety of popular names. Last year around the holidays, Coke updated the concept to recognize frontline workers with labels carrying messages such as "My Hero ." The "Open for Summer" push is themed more heavily around occasions in which people might enjoy a Coke versus packaging targeted at individuals.
Signs of recovery have been apparent in Coke's recent performance. In first-quarter earnings results reported in April, the company claimed global unit case volume in March fell in line with pre-pandemic levels , according to Yahoo Finance. However, it cautioned that a reopening would be patchwork as other areas of the world struggle to contain the virus.
Marketers in the U.S. are ramping up efforts centered on optimism after a year of understandably muted messages. Starbucks last week debuted a summer campaign dubbed "As Summer As Possible (A.S.A.P.)," another concept evoking the desire for a speedy return to normal. It includes a TikTok challenge encouraging consumers to show off their "dreamy summer state of mind."