The iconic Christmas Coke ads have long since disappeared from our screens, and won't be returning until at least, oh, August, giving their marketing and PR people a chance to come up with their latest PR ploy - named packaging.
At first, the idea seemed entirely random -it doesn't link to any upcoming TV or film release, or anything else current - but therein lies its beauty; if #danceponydance and its predecessor, Cadbury's drumming gorilla, taught us anything, it's that random is good in the world of mainstream corporate advertising.
Coke have taken this one step further by making the random personal, by producing bottles with the top 150 names in the country stamped on them. I've yet to find a bottle with my name on it- although I did see a bus with an advert with my name in Oxford Street- but I know that when I do, I'll be buying it, and I know plenty of other people who have said the same. Now maths isn't my strong point, but that's a lot of people, with the 150 most popular names in the country, now buying a Coke that they probably weren't going to buy otherwise. Knowing me, if I do manage to get a bottle with my name on, I won't open it. I'll keep it on a shelf in my room, gathering dust, a la the Peter Rabbit Easter egg of 2005 (if you don't know, don't ask). Again, I know other people who have said they would do the same. But every time I look at that Coke, it's going to give me a craving for Coke. So off I'll trot to buy a can of Coke, simultaneously satisfying my craving and playing into their hands.
So far so good for Coke sales figures, and someone in their head office is heading for a sizeable end of year bonus.
But for every Laura, or Adam, or Rachel out there, there's a Jemima, or Annaliese, or, the person who inspired me to write this blog post, a Farrah.
A couple of days ago, without really thinking about it, I tweeted the following: "Retailers must be getting sick of their drink shelves getting messed up by people looking for a Coke bottles with their name on it!"
Very quickly, I got this reply: "Fortunately for them, I will sadly be picking up a Fanta instead. Personalised doesn't come in size "Farrah" </3"
As well as encouraging people who wouldn't normally buy a Coke to buy one, they're also discouraging regular buyers who have been excluded from this PR ploy. Now I'm not saying that the Farrahs of this world are going to outnumber the Lauras- the very essence of this being the 150 most popular names exlcudes this possibility, but it's food for thought.