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Sharing A Coke Moment With Ezinne



THE first time Ezinne Madubugo came across a Coke bottle with her name on it, she was stunned, elated and sad! Stunned, because she was not only confused, she believed it was a blunder.    

    “Who wouldn’t be? For the first time ever, the brand decided to leave out the most important element of its branding, which is its legendary logo, and instead, replaced it with people’s names,” said the 29-year old lady, as she spoke on the new brand campaign by Coca Cola Nigeria.

   But after looking round the grocery store where she had gone to shop for fruits, Ezinne realised that it wasn’t a blunder after all but a deliberate attempt by the brand to get very personal with consumers. 

   “After looking round the store, I discovered that apart from the bottle I had seen with one of the shoppers, there were many more on the shelf with different names on them. That was when it dawned on me that it could be marketing tactics to connect better with consumers. I became elated and started searching for mine too, just so I can be the first person to break the news to my friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t find mine. I felt sad,” she recalled.

   At the time, which was during the summer of 2013, Ezinne was still a student in the UK. That, perhaps, explains why she didn’t find her name. The beverage giant, at that time, was running the campaign and had swapped its iconic logo for selected UK popular names. Ezinne couldn’t have made the list!

   Nonetheless, Ezinne, who now resides in Lagos, has since found her name on the bottle, following the launch of the campaign in Nigeria. She didn’t have to search too hard, her name fortunately fell among the over 500 cultural names selected for the Nigerian arm of the campaign.

   According to her, “nothing makes drinking the brand special like seeing one with your name on it. It confers on consumers a feel good emotion. Like Oliver Twist, I’m also searching for my surname. I have decided to keep them as souvenirs, hopefully I shall show them to my great- grand children.” 

    Since the campaigns started in Nigeria in January 2015, the campaign has pushed consumers into a sharing frenzy, like in the over 50 countries where it has run, as they comb every nook and cranny of stores looking for their names on bottles and cans of Coca-Cola, just so they can create and share stories, selfies and the special moments around them with friends and families.

    While many consumers have since struck gold in the course of their search, others still in the process of finding theirs have resorted to creating virtual cans or bottles for themselves online via the dedicated platform created by the company to expand the campaign reach.

   However, to make sure that everyone has a chance to get involved in the campaign, the brandis also on an activation tour across different locations in the country, where people can come order and pick up their own personlised bottles within a few minutes and at no extra cost.

   Trust Nigerians and their ways of making a wit out of everything. Aside the interesting conversions that the campaign has sparked both offline and online, a quick scan through the social media platforms shows amusing pictures of names placed on pieces of papers and glued to the brands.

   In the case of Busola Olusoga, the campaign recently turned ‘Sharing Love’ with the man of her dreams. Her boyfriend, Yomi, proposed to her the ‘Share a Coke Way’, using labeled bottles tagged, ‘Beautiful Busola Will You Marry Me?’

    Though hers is not the first marriage proposal inspired by the campaign, Busola is excited that it is the first in the country and number two in the world. The first being that of a young Scot, Donnie McGilvray, who, in 2014, proposed to his girlfriend, Eloise, with the brand bottles labeled, ‘Beautiful Eloise Will You Marry Me?’

   However, given that Nigerians love to reproduce an occurrence, it is certain that in the coming days, there will be more marriages contracted this way. 

   But…have you found your name yet?

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