Coke Reverses 10 Years Of Sagging Sales By Slapping Names On Bottles

To quote Stephen Sondheim, you’ve gotta get a gimmick if you want to get ahead. Just ask the folks at Coca-Cola who managed to briefly reverse a decade-long trend of declining Coke sales simply by slapping various people’s names on their bottles and cans.

You’ve no doubt seen the Coke bottles encouraging you to “share a Coke with…” followed by one of a large variety of first names, or more generic words like “friends” or “family.” The beverage company started the campaign in June and the Wall Street Journal reports that it’s had a positive influence on sales since.

In the few months since these names started showing up on packaging, encouraging consumers to not only buy bottles with their names or names of their loved ones but also to share images of the bottles on social media, sales of Coke’s various colas have increased 2%.

That might not seem like much, but it’s in opposition to the trend that has constantly shown shrinking soda sales in the U.S., where more consumers have turned to energy drinks, fortified waters, and packaged coffee and tea products instead of fizzy sodas.

The named bottle campaign actually first appeared in Australia three years ago, and Coca-Cola saw a 7% jump in sales among young consumers there. Now more than 80 countries are slapping popular local names on Coke packaging.

Here in the U.S., the company printed bottles with the 250 most popular names for teens and millennials. Not surprisingly, the unisex trio of Chris, Jess, and Alex were the most frequently stocked.

Coke says it always intended the program to be temporary in the States but will certainly consider bringing it back in the future.