New York — Coca-Cola wants Diet Coke fans to feel more like they’re drinking “the real thing.”
The world’s largest beverage maker says it is giving cans and bottles of its flagship sodas a makeover, with plans to unify the appearance of regular Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coke Life.
Coca-Cola says cans and bottles will prominently feature a “red disc” reminiscent of regular Coke, in addition to the colors already associated with each brand. Diet Coke cans are silver, Coke Zero cans are black and Coke Life, which is made with a mix of stevia and sugar, features green.
The Atlanta company says the “One Brand” look will roll out in Mexico next month then spread to other countries this year and next. In its flagship U.S. market, however, Coke says it’s still testing its options and that no changes are planned for 2016.
It’s not yet known how die-hard fans of Diet Coke and Coke Zero in the U.S. and elsewhere would react to the change, and whether they’ll find it confusing. Coke has made marketing missteps in the past, of course, most famously with its “New Coke” in the 1985 that tweaked the formula for Coke.
The backlash was strong enough that the company went back to the regular formula soon after.
Coca-Cola says it tested a version of the new packaging in Chile, Russia and Spain, and that it made tweaks to the concept that is rolling out starting next month as a result.
The new cans and bottles are intended to strengthen the Coke name and maximize advertising dollars, rather than treating Diet Coke and Coke Zero as separate brands.
Coca-Cola Co. is trying to reinvigorate its business, which is facing intensifying competition and changing customer habits around the world. The efforts have included slashing costs, with the goal of investing the savings into stepped up marketing.
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