The "Share a Coca-Cola" campaign is running across 32 countries and launched in Europe at the beginning of this month.
It has involved overprinting 150 popular names, nicknames, and terms of endearment in each country onto BOPP (biaxially-oriented polypropylene) labels pre-printed conventionally with standard content. The names appear in place of the usual branding for each Coca-Cola variant, in a typeface that is harmonious with the Coca-Cola brandmark look and feel.
Eight users of the HP Indigo WS6000 web press for labels and flexible packaging, with a total of 12 presses between them, were enlisted to produce the labels. Production was co-ordinated by label converter Eshuis in the Netherlands.
This is the same company that produced the "design your own Heineken" personalised Heineken sleeves.
The presses ran for 24 hours a day, for around three months, to produce all the labels and proved "exceptionally reliable" achieving an uptime of 86% according to Eshuis managing director Peter Overbeek.
Overbeek described the opportunities for brand owners in harnessing such a print network as "endless".
The job also required a high degree of colour matching and print consistency across the different print providers, with HP formulating Coca-Cola red ink specially for the project.
It differs from other personalised campaigns in that consumers are not ordering or being sent their own unique product. Instead, they look for a bottle in-store with their name on it.
The promotion links with a social media campaign on Facebook where consumers can create a virtual personalised Coke can, but not a real one – yet.
Marit Kroon, marketing manager for Europe at Coca-Cola, said: "The ability to personalise such a high volume of labels with HP Indigo Digital Presses, while achieving the quality and consistency that Coca-Cola requires, opens up new possibilities for creative campaigns moving forward."
A UK advertisement for the campaign has been posted on Coca-Cola’s YouTube channel.