For those of you who are up on ads lately, you’ve probably noticed the Coca-Cola summer campaign, “Share a Coke.” Its commercials are bouncing with racially ambiguous young adults throwing spontaneous celebrations, coyly passing glass bottles like valentines and even blossoming new love.
What’s all this fuss over?
Personalized Cokes with their personal and ambiguous names personally and artfully printed across the label.
Anyone can go to shareacoke.com to search whether their personal name is on a personal Coke in a store personally close to them. After seeing the ad for the zillionth time, I decided to give my name of questionable personality a shot. It came as no surprise that I found that Brigid is not, in fact, on any Coca-Colas in the United States, and only found in an incorrectly spelled form in Ireland.
I know, that while I take particular sensitivity to my name, I am part of a greater people in this great injustice. I know so many other people who don’t have their own names on Coke bottles. While I don’t really care about a bottle of soda, I do care about this giant corporation’s idea of “personalized” marketing.
The idea is admittedly genius: While perusing a convenience store, someone not looking to buy a Coke casually comes across a bottle with the name of a family member/friend/coworker/crush/themselves and spontaneously decides to buy it. Unfortunately, these kinds of coincidences will only happen to people with common names like Nick and Jess. The worst part is those kinds of people are so used to having novelty things with their names already written all over them. (I’m still bitter about all those No. 1 Kid keychains).
Just how personal is this choice of names, in reality?
Sure, I could go to any old store and pick out any number of things with the name Emily on them, but if I receive something with my name on it, I would know that whoever gave it to me went out of his or her way to make or find it. It seems like the people behind Share a Coke took the easy way out and chose names that they could produce in mass and would have the broadest appeal.
The real key to this campaign would’ve been to incorporate some unexpected monikers. I bet bottles with names like Ankit, Juliann, and – crazy thought – Brigid would sell just as much, if not more than the current collection. If I was in Target and saw anything with my name (literally) already on it, I would buy it in a heartbeat, no matter the price. This is a great opportunity for any of Coca-Cola’s competitors to launch a similar line of products with the names that were left out of this campaign.
It’s a good thing I actually don’t like soda. I just like the thought of being included in something that has been plastered across national television, radio and the Internet. The next time I do decide to drink a pop, I think I’ll go for a Pepsi.
• Brigid Ackerman is a recent graduate of St. Charles East High School. She enjoys playing the trumpet, eating bread and writing this column, which now runs every Thursday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.