Mumbrella’s advertiser of the year: Coca-Cola

In a year when NAB hogged the podium at awards shows with Break Up, Coca-Cola may seem an odd choice for Mumbrella’s advertiser of the year. But those who have read the comment thread beneath our story on ‘Share a Coke’, or have witnessed the squabbles in the soft drinks aisles of supermarkets lately, might not be so surprised.

The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign saw the world’s best-known logo replaced with people’s names on bottles, and a tightly integrated campaign was created with the product as the hero.

Only 150 names were put on bottles sold in regular retail outlets. But at Coke kiosks in Westfield people could get personalised ones made – 126,000 were printed within five weeks of launch. In that period, 62,208 personalised virtual cans were made on Coke’s Facebook page, which saw a 926% increase in posts.

The story on the launch of the campaign was the most read, and most commented-on story on Mumbrella this year (305 comments so far), as the public used our comment thread to plea for their names to be printed on bottles.

Through the Facebook page, people could download one of 150 ‘name songs’, and at outdoor sites such as Kings Cross in Sydney the names of passers-by were projected on to the billboard via SMS. TV ads, shots of different people sharing the same name, debuted around the NRL footy finals.

With Christmas fast approaching, Coke announced that, due to popular demand, it would add another 50 names to its bottles. “We’ve put names on Coca-Cola bottles so consumers will have fun finding their friends’ and family members’ names and then enjoy sharing a Coke together,” said the brand’s marketing director, Lucie Austin, not stating the obvious appeal for the many Coke consumers who buy for themselves.“We are using the power of the first name in a playful and social way to remind people of those in their lives they may have lost touch with or have yet to connect with,” she said.

The campaign has hit a vein in the consumer’s sense of identity, and humanised and socialised a faceless corporate. It has also put the Coke Classic brand back into consciousness of a consumer that increasingly prefers Diet Coke or Coke Zero.

Agency credits:

  • Communications Strategy: Naked Communications
  • Creative: Ogilvy
  • Digital / Social media: Wunderman
  • Media: Ikon
  • POS: Fuel
  • Activations: Urban
  • Promotions: Momentum
  • PR: One Green Bean

Commended: NAB

NAB’s decision to hold back on cutting rates put a dent in the credibility of Break Up, which up until that point was doing an amazing job of setting the bank apart. The campaign has won just about every advertising award going, and has seen around 300,000 customers defect to NAB.

Tim McColl-Jones, who runs the NAB account at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, told Mumbrella: “In 2011, NAB has (in effect) gone from a hunter to the hunted. Rivals will no doubt take a shot when it can, but winning a war is better than a single battle. NAB’s focus is to continue with what sets it apart.”

  • Details of Mumbrella’s selections for agencies of the year are available in The Mumbrella Annual, which goes on sale – digitally and in print – shortly


  1. April Neylan
    14 Dec 11
    10:38 am

  2. This campaign certainly was absolute gold. I even had a friend go to Westfield and have a personalised bottle made for her dog!

  3. richie
    14 Dec 11
    10:39 am

  4. had to be really

    plays of two key human attributes – narcissism and voyeurism

  5. Kelly
    14 Dec 11
    1:48 pm

  6. Totally agree re: Coke. This was a truly outstanding – yet incredibly simple – idea.

  7. Cody C
    14 Dec 11
    1:57 pm

  8. Pretty damn good.

  9. Mark Buckman
    14 Dec 11
    2:49 pm

  10. I thought this was a GREAT campaign and one that got deep customer engagement. hats off to Coke and the marketing team – really well done! Fantastic use of their own assets and a terrific innovation.

  11. Nat
    14 Dec 11
    2:50 pm

  12. 100% agree. Whoever thought of this idea deserve an extra annual leave day.

    I wonder what % sales went up. We never buy normal coke but had to buy a few bottle (didnt drink them though) just because we wanted the name!

  13. dch
    14 Dec 11
    5:44 pm

  14. Fabulous big idea guys. Well played.

  15. Naranja
    14 Dec 11
    8:20 pm

  16. Was this an Aussie only campaign only, or is it global? If it isnt global; surely it will be rolled out? If it is global, was it an Aussie agency who came up with the idea?

    On the idea level: who was responsible for the idea? I hope whoever the person is, he or she, is thoroughly rewarded for it :)

  17. Anon
    15 Dec 11
    12:10 am

  18. Have to agree. Well done to Coke. I do find this statement misleading though:

    “at outdoor sites such as Kings Cross in Sydney the names of passers-by were projected on to the billboard via SMS”

    This statement suggests passers-by SMS their name and it gets projected on to the billboard, which was not the case at Kings Cross. That site only had the name “Matt” up there and when you SMS your name, you can view a virtual billboard with your name on it via your mobile – which is a big difference!

  19. Jacqui
    15 Dec 11
    9:11 am

  20. Couldn’t agree more – a campaign driven by actual consumer insights and executed cleverly and simply

  21. Mary
    15 Dec 11
    11:43 am

  22. Anon – for three days or nights at the beginning of the share a coke campaign you could actually sms your name and it was projected on the billboard. It was only for a few nights though

  23. Anika
    15 Dec 11
    3:32 pm

  24. yes, was an Australia-only campaign?