Canadian Packaging

Coca-Cola plays the Name Game

Not content with merely quenching your taste, Coca-Cola wants to connect with the real you.


August 21, 2014
by Andrew Joseph, Canadian Packaging Features Editor

“You! Hey you!!  What’s your name? Have we got a product just for you!”

Coca-Cola isn’t saying that, but they aren’t NOT saying that.

The Share A Coke campaign from Coca-Cola is in full swing this August – a month-long frenzy to find your name on a Coca-Cola beverage bottle to either keep as a souvenir or slug back in some strange cannibalistic ritual, or weirder yet, to covet such a bottle featuring the name of your significant other or hopefully-one-day significant other.

I think the whole idea behind Coca-Cola offering “Your Name Here” on a bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke or Coke Zero is interesting, to say the least—though I do chaff at seeing my name above anything that says the word Zero upon it for obvious reasons – even though that’s a preferred brand.

So… is YOUR name on Coca-Cola’s naughty or nice list?

Every one of the more than 50 country participating in this campaign that concludes on August 30, 2014, has its own limited set of names available on the Coca-Cola bottles – specifically the labels.

Despite a fairly large and extensive list for each country, there is always the chance that you and your unpopular name may not be represented. Conversely, you tell yourself, your unpopular name may just be rare and more original than others.

Or, perhaps you have a name that Coke says is more popular when shortened.  See below…

Coca-Cola Canada has a very nice website that made my search for names easy and enjoyable, which is good, because my parents blessed me with a lot of names—most of which I can’t print.

Within the Canadian website, my five names are there a few times.

I’m there as Andrew and Andy (don’t call me that), though sadly, for comic relief purposes circa 1920-50, there was no Amos.

Steven is there, as is Stephanie.. but not Steve or as my middle name is spelled – Stephen.

No last name for me – Joseph… but there is a Joe. Yes, I have no real last name.

Look at  that… Matthew is there!  And so is John!

So – three of my full names out of five. Not bad Coca-Cola Canada.

Now… what about the rest of you… those of you who can’t find your name or the name of that cute woman with whom you may never put your lips upon – except as a Coca-Cola product? Coca-Cola is offering you a chance to visit a local kiosk and make one up: see HERE.

As well, the Coca-Cola Canada website even allows you to create mock-ups of brand labels with those uncommon names on them, and gives you the option of sending them to people via Twitter or Facebook.

Even though it’s not really the ‘real thing’, it’s still a nice try. Canadians can see their Coca-Cola name on a product HERE.

Back to the Canadian version of the Share A Coke campaign… how the heck did the names Josh and Joshua make it on the list? Josh?! You’re kidding, right?

For the sake of creating work for myself, I decided to see how different the U.S. version was… but there was no simple list… while a slightly flashier site, it was slower and one had to type in a name to see if it was there. Boo. Just give us a list like Canada does.

Within the U.S. Coca-Cola site, I did discover that only two of my five names are there…

Again, there is no Joseph, but there is a Joe. There’s also no Joey. But there is apparently a Joel.

So… Joel is in the list of most popular names in the U.S.? Really? Allie is, too? I suppose nicknames or shortened names are okay – unless you are Mike or Michael, in which case you get both (like Josh and Joshua in Canada).

Welcome to the department of redundancy department.

You can see the U.S. listing – or rather you can type in a name and see if it’s there or not: Click HERE

Other interesting names in the U.S. – Mayra? I’m not criticizing the name – but amongst the most popular 250 names in America?! No way. Makayla?! Maybe…

To me it just seems as though Coca-Cola is pandering to a bit of ethnic diversity.

Still – I think the whole Share A Coke marketing campaign from Coca-Cola is brilliant. It may indeed make non-Coca-Cola drinkers purchase a product they might not otherwise purchase even if they don’t become life-long consumers.

A worst-case scenario is that they never drink it, but proudly display it on a shelf with the Coca-Cola brand name and their name prominently displayed on a shelf somewhere. That’s not a bad worst-case scenario.

And… since I was born in England, I checked out the Coca-Cola UK site… and lo and behold, all five of my names are popular enough to be included in the UK Share A Coke campaign.

By the way… brand names… did Coca-Cola trademark my name? Did I just sign away all rights when I opened the bottle and took a swig?