Would You Share a Coke With Your BFF?

The "Share a Coke" marketing campaign met with great success in Western Europe. Can its success be duplicated here?

Jul 10, 2014 at 6:34PM


Source: Motley Fool Flickr

On June 10, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) introduced the "Share a Coke" marketing campaign to the U.S. markets where consumers can find their names and the names of friends on 20 ounce bottles of Coca-Cola. In addition, consumers can find common millennial nicknames like "Wingman" and "BFF" on larger bottles. Also consumers can use QR Codes on Coca-Cola Freestyle machines to send friends coupons for a free 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. Let's check out why Coca-Cola expanded this marketing campaign and what it means for investors. 

Declining sparkling beverage volume
Coca-Cola hopes that encouraging people to give each other Cokes will help raise brand awareness enticing more consumers to purchase Coca-Cola in North America. North American sparkling beverage volume has declined steadily since 2012 (see table below). Seeing this pattern, Coca-Cola decided to bring the highly successful "Share a Coke" program to the United States.


North American Sparkling Volume Change

YTD 2014






Source: Sec Filings

Positive precedent
The "Share a Coke" program saw much success across the globe. Coca-Cola's Western European bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises (NYSE:CCE) credited the program with the 1% volume increase in its sparkling flavors and energy segment and the 0.5% increase in its Coca-Cola trademark volume in 2013. Sparkling beverages actually performed better with non-sparkling beverages declining for Coca-Cola Enterprises. Overall Coca-Cola Enterprises saw its 2013 volume remain even with 2012 thanks to the increase in sparkling volume. 

Will it work?
Coca-Cola faces headwinds in the form of the healthy lifestyles movement. Increasingly, many consumers want beverages perceived to be healthy. The "Share a Coke" program will most likely turn carbonated soda volume around in the short term. However, once the program ends and the novelty wears off people may go back to buying bottled water and juices. Also Coca-Cola could incur significant marketing costs if enough people utilize the free 20 ounce coupon counteracting any positive impact from the campaign.

What's the better alternative?
Coca-Cola is trying to come up with long-term innovations like the stevia flavored Coca-Cola Life. Coca-Cola hopes that the healthier perception of its naturally flavored sweetener will turn around beverage volume, specifically its diet soda volume. However, fellow Fool Rich Duprey argues that stevia goes through a manufacturing process that dilutes its natural appeal and that it will do nothing for soda volume in the long run.

Coca-Cola's entry into the home beverage market could spur carbonated beverage volume over the long-term if a person doesn't get turned off by the lack of convenience. Mixing Coca-Cola may make sense in areas of the world that lack convenience stores and street vendors.

Perhaps Coca-Cola could make this "Share a Coke" program more permanent? Maybe even allow people with uncommon names to specially order Coca-Cola bottles or create a machine that could personalize bottles on the spot. This represents the only way the campaign could make a long-term impact on beverage volumes.

Foolish takeaway
Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Enterprises' investors should expect a volume boost in carbonated beverages as the campaign remains in full swing in North America and Western Europe. However, Coca-Cola still needs significant product innovation on the carbonated soda front to combat declining volume over the long-term. Moreover, Coca-Cola needs to figure out more ways to differentiate its non-sparkling portfolio giving its juice, tea, and water products the moat the Coca-Cola brand enjoys. 

Buy the best dividend stocks in the market
The smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend paying counterparts over the long term. Coca-Cola was an excellent dividend grower for many years that netter investors large fortunes. But, frankly, there are better dividend stocks at your fingertips. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor's portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now.


William Bias owns shares of Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2016 $37 calls on Coca-Cola and short January 2016 $37 puts on Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers