Share a Coke with… the moronic masses
The most-read story on Mumbrella last year, with not far off 100,000 page views, was a fairly humdrum yarn about the launch of Coca-Cola’s name-on-a-bottle campaign.
The headline, “Coca-Cola puts people’s names on bottles in ‘Share a Coke’ campaign”, though hated by any self-respecting sub-editor, was loved by Google. And in rushed what can be politely described as the public.
“Hey guys has anyone seen a Kitty? I know that I’m like the only one with Kitty as my real name please can someone try and get or even print a kitty please please pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.”
There were more than 300 comments like this one, interspersed with protests from regular Mumbrella readers wondering what the hell was going on. It felt like an invasion of screeching zombies.
And it made me think two things:
1) Consumers are not, contrary to the popular view, all that bright. I could almost sympathise with one Mumbrella reader who posted: “Why not print one with ‘Stupid Twat’ on it then these people will be happy.”
2) This is the best ad campaign of recent times.
Not because it’s brilliant, creatively. It’s the idea – which, as has been pointed out in the comment thread, is about tapping into ego in the all-about-me age of Facebook and Twitter. The part of us that goes hysterical when we see ourselves on the big screen at a footy match.
Here’s another typical comment: “PLZ PRINT MY NAME ON A COKE BOTTLE PLZ PLZ PLZ COKE FACTORY.”
It got just a bit creepy.
Coke’s comms manager Lauren Thompson told me this week, after the final phase of the campaign saw 50 more names added to bottles, that ‘Share a Coke’ is more about “building brand love” than sales, and would only share fairly meaningless stats with me – 126,000 personalised cans printed at kiosks in Westfields, a 926% increase in posts on Coke’s Facebook page, etc.
But it was a squabble I saw between two mothers rummaging through Coke bottles in Coles that makes me think sales will have been brisk this Christmas. It also made me question the words of David Ogilvy, founding father of the agency behind the campaign, who said: “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.”
The most awarded campaign of 2011, NAB Break Up, deserved its glory. But it cannot touch Coke for hitting a vein in the human condition that has got so many people so unreasonably excited about a bottle of fizzy sugar water.
- An earlier version of this article first appeared in Encore magazine. To subscribe, click here