New Delhi: Beverage maker Coca-Cola has launched a new packaging and campaign called ‘Share a Coke’, celebrating relationships. The seven-year-old global campaign, now coming to India, will also feature Coke bottles and cans with words like ‘Papa’, ‘Didi’ and ‘Bhai’ replacing its logo. 

The Share a Coke advertising campaign will be launched across 11 Indian languages in India. Made by advertising agency McCann India, the television spotfeatures two young men sticking out for each other in tough times and enjoying their friendship over a ‘Share a Coke’ special PET bottle with the word ‘Bhai’ on it. The message being, good friends are no less than family. 

The Share a Coke campaign was first launched in Australia in 2011 under which its packaging carried names of people like ‘Rachel’ or ‘Williams’. The campaign received positive response and was introduced in US and China, where the packaging also carried film names and dialogues. In India, however, Coke has chosen to take an emotional route to promote the campaign.

“We did not want to copy paste the global campaign and decided to add an Indian flavour to it. Our consumer research showed that relationships in the country are becoming informal than before and we wanted to highlight it. Our study also showed that many teenagers in India perceive their relationships differently; for example, the word ‘Dad’ means not just an ATM but also their champ to them. This campaign is talking about the changing relationships of young India," said Ajay Bathija, director – Cola, Coca-Cola India. 

Bathija said that personalization, customization and regionalism are three big consumer trends in India which the campaign leverages to connect with the young consumers. “Teens live in moments today; they are the Snapchat generation where they share something exciting online and move on. They don’t watch television rather they are looking for experiences which can be shared online. Coke wants to be the part of the moments which they feel worth sharing," he added. 

The company plans to execute ‘Share a Coke’ campaign as a series where each year a new theme will be leveraged. Currently, the campaign will be promoted on television through youth properties like Indian Premier League (IPL). There will also be an elaborate experiential leg which will happen on where consumers will get customized bottles/cans across the country.

It is interesting to note that Coca-Cola’s competitor Pepsi has created “Foodicon" bottles, featuring images of street food for its summer campaign and features characters from popular film franchise Fukrey. Pepsi India has been relying heavily on its packaging-led campaign since 2016 when it launched Pepsi Moji campaign featuring multiple emojis on the product packaging. Last year, Pepsi went hyperlocal in its packaging using colloquial pop culture words in eight Indian languages in its Moments campaign.

Vivek Dutta, executive planning director, at advertising agency Hakuhodo P feels that Share a Coke is a quirky initiative that connects the act of sharing to expressing the “feeling of love" in different relationships. “I think it is a very well thought out and extendable brand thought. The whole idea can be explored in so many ways and directions. This time if the message was ‘bromance’, it can very well be ‘romance’ the next time," he said.

Dutta said while the Pepsi Fukrey campaign is certainly topical owing to the excitement around the film franchise, the life of the Coke initiative is way longer since it harps on the basic human truth of celebrating relationships in one’s life. 

According to Rajiv Dingra, founder and chief executive, WAT Consult, a digital and social media agency of Dentsu Aegis Network, such campaigns reflect young consumers demand constant innovation from brands. “With attention spans getting shorter, brands have to find new ways to package their products and connect with young consumers. These campaigns are primarily looking at driving the social media buzz around the brand and get talked about," he added.

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