Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Diet Coke gets biggest makeover ever in bid to restore cachet

Diet Coke gets biggest makeover ever in bid to restore cachet

The Coca-Cola Company has given Diet Coke, while leaving the recipe of the beverage unchanged, a new look, with bright colors on slimmer cans. The revamped can and additional flavors - ginger lime, feisty cherry, twisted mango and zesty blood orange - will hit store shelves in mid-January.

This company has listened to fans, and has chose to bring back Diet Coke's original formula, while also bringing four fruity new flavors.

Coca-Cola North America group director for Diet Coke Rafael Acevedo says it's simply modernising Diet Coke by making the brand more relatable and more authentic. Diet Coke itself was down 6% in the same period, while PepsiCo's Diet Pepsi suffered even more with an 8% volumes drop. Ultimately, Diet Coke landed on four flavors that received the most positive consumer responses. Whether Coke Zero Sugar actually tastes more like regular Coke - as Coca-Cola insists - is open for discussion. Stanford attributes the decline to the rise in the market of an array of drinks, diversifying choices for the non-alcoholic beverage consumer.

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This is the second Diet Coke redesign in two years - the Coca-Cola Company also changed up its branding back in 2016.

The new flavors will be packaged in 12-oz. cans and will be sold in eight-packs or as singles. The new 12-ounce can, which is noticeably skinnier than its predecessor, will hit US stores later this month. But what is apparent is that Coke Zero Sugar's bolder brand imaging does a better job of attracting consumers than Diet Coke.

Left behind, Diet Coke has been searching for an identity, and Coca-Cola will hope the flavour expansion and funky packaging will offer it one in the years ahead.

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A 2016 report by Beverage Digest, a publication covering non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, showed a 0.8% decline in the overall volume sales for carbonated soft drinks, with Diet Coke sales falling by 4.3%.

"This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognizable core brand visual assets", said James Sommerville, vice president, Coca-Cola Global Design. A robust integrated marketing campaign launching later this month will celebrate the delicious, uplifting taste of Diet Coke and express an unapologetic, emboldened point of view for the brand. Following the double-digit growth we've seen from Coke Zero Sugar since its introduction last fall and with this full Diet Coke brand relaunch, we believe we can continue to re-energize and strengthen our no-calorie business. "We want to build on the success of the brand to date, reminding people of what makes it so special".

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