The past few weeks, most of my friends have been agog with Coca-Cola’s Share-a-Coke marketing campaign. To those unfamiliar with it, you can buy Coke cans and bottles with the message, “Share a Coke with…”, and it offers a wide range of names, from generic tags like Bro, BFF, Love, and Hottie, to personalized names like Cat and Niel. (No kidding — I saw this combination at SM Manila’s grocery.)
I have found myself rummaging through rows and rows of Coca-Cola cans and bottles looking for my name and that of my kids. Last night, I found a bottle that said “Rose” – the name of my kids’ nanny – and even contemplated buying that one as a surprise present for her. I’ve bought cans that said, “Mommy,” “Daddy,” “Ganda” (beautiful), for my wife, and “Cutie” (for myself, haha).
Now, apparently, a Share-a-Coke marketing tour is now making the rounds of malls in Manila, where, for a PHP150 purchase of Coke products, you can get a customized Coca-Cola bottle with any name on it (8 characters). You gotta give Coke credit for this incredible campaign. It’s taking pretty much the whole country by storm.
What makes Share-a-Coke so great is that it empowers someone to bestow that “blessing of Coke,” so to speak, on you. “Share a Coke with Al.” “Share a Coke with Richard.”
It’s just a little disturbing for someone to have to pay PHP150 to see “Ganns” on a Coke bottle; “Ganns” isn’t one of the names on the standard list of names identified by Coke for the Philippines, unlike Nathan or Cathy, my son and wife, who could get it, if they happen upon it. There is no relationship between me and Coke; hence, an unusual name like mine doesn’t come normally.
Luckily, someone else knows my name, unlike Coke.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” – Jeremiah 1:5
I don’t have to pay PHP150 to be recognized or known by God; in fact, I received salvation for free (“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6:23), because Jesus, God’s Son, paid the price with His life (“…for you were bought with a price…”, 1 Cor 6:20).
“Share a Coke” wins because it’s based on relationship. And the best relationship we can ever have is with God the Father, and you don’t have to pay PHP150 to have a relationship with God. And because of that relationship, God calls me “Son,” and I can call Him “Father.” Or “Friend.”
I’ll drink a Coke to that.