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Integrated Marketing Communications Case Study

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Personalization and the idea of sharing were at the heart of Coca-Cola successful 'Share a Coke' integrated marketing communications campaign. In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at this Coca-Cola case study.

Share a Coke

It's time to confess: How much time did you spend a few summers ago scouring beverage coolers for your name on the back of one of the world's most recognizable brands? Coca-Cola found itself a marketing success story when it brought its ''Share a Coke'' campaign from Australia to the United States and parts of Europe.

Coca-Cola used the Share a Coke campaign to reach its audience globally.
coca-cola, coke, share, campaign, soda, pop

Simply put, Coca-Cola launched its campaign as an effort not only to increase its popularity among millennials, but also to reinvigorate its place in the soda industry, which had been dwindling. Using integrated marketing communications (IMC), a method of communicating from brand to consumer that aligns the same message across all touch points, Coca-Cola realized significant successes — enough to revive its ''Share a Coke'' campaign from the summer of 2014 to a bigger and better campaign in the summer of 2015.

Let's take a look at this IMC case study and see what Coca-Cola did and how it fared.

The Campaign

When Cola-Cola decided to work harder to court millennial consumers, it did so by adding a personal touch: manufacturing bottles and cans with a variety of popular names printed right on the container. In particular, it focused on the top 250 most popular names for people in the teenager and millennial demographics.

The company's campaign roll-out was multi-faceted and included a variety of channels, all bearing the same consistent message. Coca-Cola used print advertisements and television commercials. For example, one print ad in the United Kingdom stated, ''Share a Coke with Wills and Kate,'' printed to coincide with the birth of the royal couple's first child. A U.S. television commercial showed a young girl finding her name and the name of her friend on a bottle and then showed the adventures they went on afterward.

But traditional media wasn't the only place that the ''Share a Coke'' campaign found a home. The theme showed up on the side of public transportation and billboards. Digitally, Coca-Cola developed a branded website where customers could purchase personalized bottles and other Coca-Cola products. It carried the message through to its social media channels, giving followers the opportunity to create a virtual can or bottle and then share it online with friends and family, utilizing a hashtag like #shareacoke. In Australia, Coca-Cola even implemented text messaging to send a name that would be displayed on Coca-Cola signage in the popular King's Cross area of Sydney. Fans could also — literally — share a 20-ounce Coke with friends from the company's many Freestyle vending machines, using a QR code to generate a coupon.

Coca-Cola's IMC campaign was all about personalization and creating a connection between its brand and its target audience. And what better way to do that than emphasizing the idea of ''sharing''?

Results

Coca-Cola's ''Share a Coke'' campaign was wildly successful in terms of increasing consumption of its product and in brand awareness and engagement.

The company enjoyed a two-percent increase in the sales of its soft drinks, particularly among young consumers where the ratio to adult consumers grew by seven percent. But better sales were not the only positive outcome.

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