Thailand is the first country in Asia to see Coca-Cola's new "Be Fizzy, Be Bold, Share a Coke" campaign in which people's nicknames and their expressions are printed on 250 million cans and bottles of Coca-Cola.
The campaign is aimed at encouraging young Thais to express their feelings and connect with one another but, more important as far as the company is concerned, inspire them to connect with the Coca-Cola brand and drink more Coke.
"We are fully confident of continuing to grow our sales momentum and market-share leadership. We are leading every segment in the sparkling-beverage category," said Konstantinos Delialis, marketing director of Coca-Cola (Thailand), in his first interview with local media.
Delialis, a Greek national, has been in Thailand for more than a year.
He said more than 80 nicknames and 10 expressions, such as "Kon Naa-rak", "Kon Jing-jai", "Kon Pi-sed", "Kon Suay", and "Kon Lor", had been chosen by Coca-Cola to print on its cans and bottles.
With an investment of Bt140 million (S$5.6 million), the campaign will run until the end of the year.
"This important marketing innovation, created right here in Thailand, is the result of a special cultural insight into the way Thai people behave," Delialis said.
"We know that Thai people are positive and happy … But they are also very reserved about expressing how they feel about other people, especially when those feelings are mixed with special emotions or are particularly complimentary.
We want to make it easier for people to spread positive feelings and goodwill towards those they love or admire, because that is one of Coca-Cola's most special brand attributes."
Coca-Cola (Thailand) posted Bt30 billion in sales last year. According to Nielsen, Coca-Cola sales grew by 21 per cent year on year as of June.
In comparison, the overall sparkling-drink market grew by only 7 per cent over the same period. Coca-Cola (Thailand)'s share of the market averaged 56.7 per cent in the 12 months ending in June, according to Nielsen.
Learning from others
Delialis said Coca-Cola operated in 200 markets around the world and each market learned from the others. Originated in Australia, the "Share a Coke" campaign is now in 50 markets around the world. However, Thailand is the first country in Asia with the personal-nicknames campaign.
"The 'Share a Coke' campaign has been a phenomenal success in Australia, the UK, Italy, France, Brazil, Austria, Germany, Greece and Israel," he said.
Coca-Cola (Thailand) last month introduced special-edition cans with the word "Mum" on them to mark Mother's Day.
The campaign received strongly positive consumer response, with more than 5 million cans sold.