It's personal - but a Coke by any other name would taste as sweet

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Angus Mabey and Jasmine Miller. Photo / Doug Sherring
Angus Mabey and Jasmine Miller. Photo / Doug Sherring

Coca-Cola bottles and cans are getting a spring makeover: from tomorrow, first names will feature where the brand name once was.

Sione, Tamati and Raj are among 150 names that will be in circulation, with such Kiwi-isms as Mate, Boss, Sis and Bro.

Government records were used to select 110 common Kiwi names. Jess and Josh were the most consistently popular names over the past 13 years, the company's research found.

Census data were used to find 40 other names that reflected New Zealand's ethnic mix.

Radio producer Angus Mabey, 23, said he was impressed his name was included, because he had never seen his name on any other merchandise. His partner Jasmine Miller, 22, said she would buy a can if it had her name on it - even though she did not drink Coke.

Massey University Professor Malcolm Wright said low-price purchases were often driven by emotion and the new look was likely to boost sales.

"Consumers are prone to be 'nudged' by very small things," he said. "If you saw a name that meant something to you, you may well buy it instead of the can of L&P."

Wright said he would be interested to see how long the novelty lasted. Twenty million personalised cans and bottles were to be made over the four-month New Zealand campaign, which was piloted in Australia last year.

Coca-Cola's marketers said they expected a lot of activity on social media, as people "shared" the product when they came across their names.

One name absent from the campaign was "Natasha". Earlier this month, a coroner delayed his report on the death of Invercargill 30-year-old Natasha Harris, whose husband blamed Coca-Cola for her death.

Harris drank around 10 litres of coke a day before her 2010 death from cardiac arrest. The coroner's report into the cause of death was delayed to allow Coca-Cola's lawyers to submit more evidence.

- Herald on Sunday

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