In the New Zealand Herald today, Shelley Bridgeman queried Coke’s marketing ploys. The company claims not to target kids, she points out, but the 150 names on the Coke bottles are common amongst schoolkids.
Shelley had a clever approach to testing the strategy: she looked at the most popular names for 8 year olds and cross-referenced it with Coke’s list. As a control, she also cross-referenced the list of obituary names against Coke’s list. Yes, Coke’s list contained more popular 8 year old names than it did 80 year old names.
But what about 18 year old names? That would be a reasonable target market for Coke. I decided Shelley’s data-driven approach, whilst admirable, was flawed. We needed to check more age groups to see whom Coke was really targeting.
I ran my own cross-referencing, based on exact matches in the top forty names.
(a) Coke based its list on something other than lists of the most popular baby names. The targeting isn’t that blatant. They’ve got Chelsea in there, after all, and who would name their kid that?
(b) If they were aiming for a particular age of name, it would be age 13.