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The Growing Trend Of Customized Products Offers Joy & Connection For Consumers

December 16, 2020 Erin Sweeney

Product customization is a growing trend and a useful tactic for advertisers that want to appeal to consumers with unique products and merchandise. A consumer review by Deloitte reported that one in five consumers are willing to pay 20% more for personalized or exclusive products, illustrating an opportunity for brands to deepen connections with consumers and turn them into loyalists. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) and franchise brands, including Coca-Cola, Oreo, Babybel and Dunkin’, are using customization of their products and merchandise this holiday season to bring joy and connection to consumers.

CPG Customization Is A Growing Trend That Increases Consumer Engagement

During the pandemic, many consumers turned to their favorite CPG brands for comfort, and brands are looking for ways to strengthen connections by offering customization of their products and merchandise. Customization allows CPG customers to express themselves through products from their favorite brands, and brands reap the benefits when their customers become walking promotions. By offering limited-edition merchandise drops, brands are building hype for their customized products for consumers increasingly comfortable with buying online and being specific about what they want. 

Coca-Cola Leverages Popularity Of Personalized Bottles For New Campaign Honoring Everyday Heroes


In 2014, Coca-Cola partnered with Hewlett-Packard to launch the “Share a Coke” campaign and kicked off its now ubiquitous personalized bottles. The first year of the campaign, the company posted more than 19% sales growth for 20-ounce bottles, the largest year-over-year (YOY) jump Coca-Cola had seen for that size, and proved that consumers would buy more of a product if the packaging was personalized, according to reporter Cathy Siegner for Food Dive. Consumers shared more than 500,000 photos via the #ShareaCoke hashtag in the first year personalized bottles were available, and Coca-Cola gained roughly 25 million new Facebook followers that same year. This year, the company is building on the personalized bottle campaign with a packaging initiative that salutes everyday heroes by including more than 40 monikers, including nurses, teachers, moms and other individuals who have made sacrifices for their communities in 2020. 

According to Aaron Baar for Marketing Dive, “In addition to purchasing their own holiday hero-themed bottle, consumers can send a customized 8-ounce glass bottle to their personal hero through the Coke Store website. The personalization push comes as the company looks to grow its ecommerce capabilities, as many CPG brands have done during the pandemic.” When lockdowns took effect this spring, Coke paused all global advertising, “redirecting resources to support COVID-19 relief efforts and donating media space to charity partners around the world.” Consumers want to support companies that care. By building off the successful personalized bottle campaign and their pandemic-relief initiatives, Coke is able launch their Holiday Heroes campaign and appeal to consumers who want to support socially responsible companies.

Oreo Encourages Their Fans To ‘Customize Everything’ With Playful New Activation


In November, Oreo rolled out their “custom cookie experience,” encouraging consumers to “customize everything” with an initiative the brand is calling OreoID. The Oreo activation allows customers to choose creme colors, dips and sprinkles, and gives the option of placing photos or text on cookies. Custom OreoID packaging options are also available, and a 3-D product visualization shows the customer exactly what their cookie creation will look like. In order to highlight the wide range of creative combinations, Oreo posted user-generated content (UGC) from customers in a video on their social media channels. 

The OreoID activation ties into the brand’s current “Stay Playful” campaign and brings a new level of personalization, while opening a direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel to reach shoppers. The OreoID campaign encourages sharing from the community on social media and provides the company with first-party data about shoppers, allowing Oreo to gain greater insights into customers’ buying habits and preferences for future marketing. 

Babybel And Dunkin’: Customized Merchandise

Both Babybel and Dunkin’ are using customization in their branded merchandise to build on brand loyalty this holiday season. Babybel rolled out their personalized infant onesies nine months into the pandemic, calling babies born in 2020 a “Babybel boom” in a press release. The onesies have the look of the classic Babybel red coated cheese and the campaign encourages customers to share photos of their babies using the #BabybelBoom hashtag. Melanie Nemoy, brand director for Babybel in the U.S., said, “We’re excited to lend our logo in playful tribute and, of course, to see the cheesiest of baby pictures!” Millennials, the generation spending the most in 2020, are now starting families and tend to support businesses that share their values. The Babybel campaign’s social responsibility component targets the Millennial generation, pledging support for the non-profit Baby2Baby, a charity that ensures babies and children living in poverty have access to basic essentials, with each onesie purchase. 

To build on their fierce brand loyalty, Dunkin’ is offering customers a wide variety of limited-edition personalized holiday accessories and apparel this holiday season including custom caps, shirts, laptop cases and phone cases. “This holiday season, Dunkin’ has perfect presents for anyone who bleeds orange and pink, with special swag as personalized as their daily Dunkin’ coffee order,” explained Dunkin’ in the press release announcing the activation. 

The company used celebrity influencers to feature some of their custom pieces in Dunkin’s Cheersin’ video, which kicked off the holiday season at Dunkin’. The spot featured TikTok stars Miranda Rae, Cale Brown, Tre Clements and Honey B, and the full lineup was officially launched via special Instagram posts by celebrity couple Ashley Laconetti and Jared Haibon. “Our guests went wild for our holiday merch last year, so this year we’re taking it to the next level, giving our loyal DD Perks members access to exclusive items, offering personalized options for the first time, and most importantly, bringing everyone who runs on Dunkin’ fresh new ways to proudly show their love for their favorite brand,” said Drayton Martin, vice president, brand stewardship at Dunkin’.

CPG and franchise brands are leaning into the trend of customization this holiday season, with creative options for customers that offer new avenues for audience outreach, build brand notoriety and collect first-party data. Consumers want connection and fun from brands in 2020 and beyond, and brands that can facilitate excitement are seeing opportunities to scale revenue. 

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About the Author

Erin Sweeney

Erin Sweeney is a freelance writer and professional educator. Throughout her 12 years of experience in secondary education, she has taught advanced composition, business communications and research methodology. Erin has a keen interest in psychology and the science of motivation. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Saint Anselm College and a Master’s in Education from Plymouth State University. Through research and writing, Erin contributes to DMS Insights with informative articles surrounding the digital and performance marketing industries.

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