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Share a Coke returns with 25 million personalized bottles

Last year’s program contributed to a 6% sales increase while it was in market

Canadians can have a Keith and a smile with the second iteration of Coca-Cola Canada’s popular “Share a Coke” campaign.

Running July 6 through Sept. 25, the program replaces the Coca-Cola logo on bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero bottles with up to 1,000 of the country’s most popular names (more than triple the amount from last year), all written in the beverage’s distinctive script. This year’s campaign also includes a limited-edition release of Cherry Coke.

The company is distributing nearly 25 million personalized 500ml bottles from its facility in Brampton, with new names this year including Calvin, Maddy, Leo, Maya, Meagan, Keith, Nancy and Dillon.

Sonia Bongiorno, senior integrated marketing manager for Coca-Cola in Toronto, said that the names cover approximately 90% of the population. The company worked with a third party research firm to ensure they represented both English and French Canadians, as well as select ethnic groups (bottles in select urban locations, for example, will feature Chinese characters).

The first “Share a Coke” was one of Coca-Cola’s most successful programs of all time, with Bongiorno telling Canadian Grocer that it boosted overall brand health scores by 8% and increased new customers by 5%. Total sales during the three-month period were up 6%.

“People are really excited that they can find their name on a bottle,” said Bongiorno. “What we know about the Canadian population is that they really like things that are unique to them.”

She said that the program also stands for the Coca-Cola brand promise of creating “moments of happiness.” “It’s about uplift and optimism people being able to share that with people in their lives,” she said.

For those Canadians whose name didn’t make it onto a bottle, Coca-Cola is also providing an opportunity to people to customize their own mini-can during the 100-day Share a Coke Tour, which already made a stop at the Calgary Stampede and will be visiting the CIBC Pan Am Park in Toronto during the Pan Am Games.

The company is supporting the initiative with a 30-second TV and cinema spot, along with truck and taxi-top ads and what Bongiorno described as a “robust” digital program that allows people to create a virtual bottle online and share it via their social media feeds.

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