Coke “Auto-Designs” 2 Million Coke Bottles

cokebottleIn a past blog we discussed Coca-Cola’s semi-personalized “Share a Coke” campaign featuring over 250 common names that were printed on Coke bottles and cans. Following the overwhelming success of that campaign, we find Coke taking on more adventurous and unique campaigns.

A new campaign features 2 million unique and individualized bottle designs for Diet Coke. Is this a complete waste of resources, or a stroke of packaging genius? The campaign was created by Coca-Cola Israel with assistance from Gefen Team, Q Digital and HP Indigo. It was the introduction of a unique design algorithm (that sounds like an oxymoron) that is allowing Coke to auto-generate over 2 million unique packaging designs.

According to the VP of marketing for Coca-Cola Israel, the messaging behind the campaign is to convey to “Diet Coke lovers that they are extraordinary, by creating unique, one-of-a-kind extraordinary bottles.” This messaging is supported by hundreds of uniquely designed billboards promoting the campaign. The point-of-sale promotions include t-shirt sales and associated merchandise that coordinate with your very own bottle design.


It is not likely that the unique bottles will drive the same kind of revenue increases as the “Share a Coke” campaign saw. The genius of the “Share a Coke” campaign was that people felt special when they were able to find a product with their name on it. They were enticed to find bottles with their friends’ names on them as well and thus the buzz built around the campaign. In the case of the 2 million unique bottles, there is a lack of individualization. Yes, the bottles look cool, yes you will be the only one with that bottle deisgn, but people will not have the same drive to seek out specific bottles as they did when the bottles featured a name.


What is intriguing, though, is the introduction of an automated design generator. With digital printing technology, packaging no longer has to be mass produced with the same design over and over again. This opens the door for creative ways to incorporate diverse packaging. Coke’s solution was an automated design generator that can create aesthetically pleasing and complex designs without someone having to sit down and spend hundreds of hours working on one design. What we find interesting is the trust Coca-Cola is placing in their algorithm to produce designs that they find satisfactory. The lack of a design proofing process is unheard of in most design settings. The potential for a design to go wrong and connotation to be associated with an auto-generated design should be considered.

Time will tell if the unique bottle design campaign is a success for Coca-Cola Israel. Most certainly, if the campaign finds success in Israel we will likely see it in other countries around the world. We would most certainly like to see it here in the states.

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