Brittany – Dylan – Katelyn – Tyler. In 2014, these were among the 250 names that contributed to Coca-Cola’s best sales numbers since 2000. The “Share a Coke” campaign, in which Coke’s iconic logo was replaced with popular names on bottles, was wildly successful, and has been expanded and riffed on; for 2016, bottles will feature song lyrics. Coke’s marketing team tapped into the most basic of human tendencies: our inclination to connect with others, and to give human characteristics to objects—anthropomorphize them—so we can connect with them, too. Researchers at Chicago Booth have dug deeply into this concept and the implications for marketing, and communications in general. An article that first appeared in the Chicago Booth publication Capital Ideas last August made its way to Forbes this May. The article notes, “We think of products and brands as other people with fully formed personalities—as companions, friends, and relationship partners. When companies develop anthropomorphized characters, consumers pay attention.” Marketers who pay attention to this research can win the day.
From Chicago public radio station WBEZ, a lively 13-minute conversation about the Chicago Booth research.