Rebranding 2

by | Nov 2, 2022 | Direction, Journey, Legacy

(Part Two)

“To what can I compare the people of this generation?” Jesus asked. “How can I describe them? They are like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t weep.’
For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” Luke 7:31-35

In April 1985, Coca-Cola made the most significant marketing error in history. After losing shares of the soda market to Pepsi, marketing itself as the taste of a new generation, Coca-Cola decided to discontinue its original product and release “New Coke.” It was a disaster, and within weeks Coca Cola had to re-release its actual product as “Coke Classic.”

15 Years later, new products were being introduced by other companies. Coca-Cola sales hit a decade of decline over the general market. Any corporation knows that you can’t keep that trend up. Coca-Cola had learned that they couldn’t change the formula of their products but what they could do was change the approach to how they convince people to consume their product.

They came up with the radical idea that they would debrand the traditional Coke logo from one side of the bottle and put a new slogan on the other. They decided that they would go with the slogan “Share a Coke with” followed by a person’s name. This marketing campaign used the most common 250 names of people in each country where Coke was sold.  The question was would the campaign succeed? In 2011 in Australia the campaign was rolled out and sales of Coke rose in that country by 4% and increased in young adults by 7%. In the US, in a market that had seen over a decade of decline, sales increased by 2% in the first year. The number of names was increased to over a thousand, and they even added some phrases.

The campaign discovered that seeing someone’s name on the bottle or even your own made a connection to your heart and memory, and you were more apt to purchase it and share it with those you love. They discovered that sometimes you don’t need a new product, just a new approach.

In this text from Luke, we are nearing the death of John the Baptist. The tax collectors and sinners as Luke calls them were convinced they should follow Jesus. The religious leaders rejected his message and the baptism of John. The message of Jesus was not trying to get religious people to be more religious; it was a message that God loved everyone and that everyone had a place in the kingdom.

We live in a culture of separation and alienation, but the truth is that God created us to be in relationships. Is it possible that we, as the church, bought into the idea that church people should look and act a certain way so that those not part of the church could recognize us? Does this sound familiar at all to a group in Jesus’ day?

They called him a friend of sinners, not a title to be proud of, but he embraced it. We need to take up the Jesus challenge, reach out to others, and share the joy of following him. It’s time we share our Jesus with everyone in our community and change the world one life at a time.

Journeying Together,





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