As it’s been 25 years since apartheid was dismantled, South Africa now recognizes 11 official languages. However, the citizens still can’t say each other’s names.
In a bid to introduce South Africa to South Africa, during summer of 2018, FCB Joburg and the brand known for putting people’s names on its cans, Coca-Cola, did something more.
The duo helped by putting the phonetics of each name from all the different languages and cultures on Coca-Cola packs, effectively teaching South Africans to greet each other, by name, correctly.
The ‘Coke PHONETIC CAN Campaign’ addressed one of the fundamental social barriers preventing indigenes from finding common ground and understanding each other.
The FCB Joburg Chief Creative Officer, Jonathan Deeb noted that:
“A fundamental first step in getting to know someone is being able to greet that person and say their name correctly. However, with 11 national languages, people needed to put in a lot more effort to understand each other”.
“By adding the pronunciation to people’s names, the Coca-Cola Can became much more than an acknowledgment of identity – it became a teacher, a change maker. Wherever there was a Coke Can, there was an opportunity to learn, or at the very least, to just try. The Can became an invitation to say a name without fear. It became a way to bridge language divides, an education tool and a symbol of cultural pride”.
The Coke PHONETIC CAN Campaign which was one of the largest integrated campaigns tackled by the agency in the past 12 months ran from November 2018 until June 2019.
By teaching a vending machine your name, you could get your own personalized can. The agency ensured to gather data on South Africa’s most popular names per region based on all 11 languages and it developed a simple, non-academic phonetic system.