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Coke mulls what should replace famous logo as ‘Share a Coke’ roll-out hits hurdles in Asia

Share a Coke

What to put on bottles in China?

The world’s most famous brand has been agonising over what should replace the logo on the side of its products as a campaign that began in Australia hits difficulties ahead of a planned roll-out across the region.

‘Share a Coke’ launched down-under in 2011, a campaign that saw the famous Coca-Cola brand mark replaced with peoples’ names.

Though it proved hugely successful, with people squabbling over bottles in supermarkets to get the name they wanted, technical difficulties have prevented the export of the idea to other parts of the region.

Leonardo O’Grady, Coke’s integrated marketing and communications director for ASEAN, told Mumbrella that the problem was “one part marketing, two parts bottling.”

Persuading factory owners to play ball has not been easy, since repackaging is costly and labour intensive, and distribution in retail outlets, the majority of which are small family-run businesses, has also proved tricky, O’Grady said.

Just as difficult has been deciding what to replace the logo to make a bottle of Coke more shareable.

“In Western cultures there are a few dominant names. But in countries such as China, Thailand or Korea it’s trickier to pick which to use, because there are so many variations,” he said.

Coke is considering putting nicknames instead of full names on bottles in Thailand, and using characters that denote gestures or acts – such as love, kindness or passion – in China, O’Grady explained.

The campaign is to run in Asia in the coming months, but O’Grady said he was not confident it would have the same impact that it had where the idea – created by Ogilvy Sydney – was born.

“Australia has a deep, deep relationship with Coke. Per capita consumption is very high. Aussies have grown up with Coke as part of their cultural landscape. It is drunk for lunch and dinner,” he said.

“But in other parts of Asia, though the brand is well known, it is still a foreign concept versus teas and juices and is only drunk a few times a year.”

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