“Share the Summer” – Coke’s challenge to traditional wisdom

Have you seen Coca-Cola’s “Share the Summer” campaign?  The billboard advertisements omit any reference to the name “Coke” or “Coca-Cola”.  Instead, consumers are invited to recognise the brand from the red background and the slogan “Share the Summer” featured in curly white script (also see www.sharethesummer.com.au).  Clearly Coke thinks this form of advertising works.  It did something similar in 2007 with its “Enjoy Summer” advertising.  In this respect, Coke is challenging the traditional wisdom that, in all advertising, ‘the name comes first’.  It provides an important lesson to brand owners.   Whilst it is naturally important to trade mark one’s brand name, so too there may be features which also deserve trade mark protection because they designate the source of the goods or services to consumers.  Colour, script, shape and logos are all relevant.  Of course, one’s success in creating such brand recognition can take years and substantial advertising spend.  One doubts whether Coke would have contemplated this approach without confidence in the result…

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