Coca-Cola decides to get personal

Coke asks customers to “Share a Coca-Cola”—with a little help from HP

Coca-Cola had an idea. A big idea. The idea was so big, in fact, that Coke couldn’t pull it off on its own.

To make it happen, Coke needed a partner with unsurpassed printing expertise. It needed a partner with an unwavering dedication to quality. And it needed a partner that could deliver on its promises.

In other words, Coke needed HP.

Coke’s big idea was to individualize the labels on Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola light, and Coca-Cola Zero bottles in 32 European countries. Instead of Coke’s iconic logo, the bottles would carry the 150 most popular first names – in each of the 32 countries – in an effort to reconnect with younger customers.

“The ‘Share a Coca-Cola’ campaign is a way to talk to teens in a very personal way,” said Marit Kroon, Marketing Manager, Coca-Cola Europe. “This – getting personal – is something that helps us win the hearts of teenagers.”

Prints that impress

To make the campaign a reality, HP first had to create a special ink that would perfectly print Coke’s famous red label. Think that was tough? Try what came next: printing the labels themselves. To do that, HP ran 10 label converters using 12 Indigo presses ran five to seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to produce 800 million personalized labels that spanned 30 languages and five different alphabets.

“The magnitude of this campaign is something which is unique,” said Christian Menegon, Worldwide Business Development Manager, Labels and Printing, HP Indigo. “It has never happened in the era of digital printing. Any brand manager would like their products to shine on the shelf. Any brand manager would like to talk to the consumers one by one. Today, the technology is there. Today, the technology can help.”

The campaign officially launched on 1 May, when the personalized bottles were shipped to stores across Europe. Customers quickly caught on and then logged on to share their personalized bottles on Twitter and Facebook, connecting with their friends and reconnecting with Coca-Cola.