Diet Coke, Coke Zero and other familiar branding from Coca-Cola may be disappearing from store shelves and vending machines. Some familiar packaging will definitely be disappearing soon in Mexico, where the company will be rolling out a new look at marketing strategy that is planned to eventually go worldwide.
Coca-Cola announced Monday that it is moving forward with its “One-Brand” marketing strategy by redesigning cans and bottles to a common overall look with the Red Disc, the signature element of their “Taste the Feeling” global campaign which launched in January, on everything. Executives unveiled the new packaging, which affect the four brands sold under the Coke trademark: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke/Coca-Cola Light, Coke Zero and Coke Life (the one with the Stevia Leaf extract).
Their new graphics will use “one visual identity system” with the Coca-Cola red look and name across the board. The differences in product formulas will be differentiated in the area around the red disc, which will feature the colors already associated with each product. Diet Coke cans will have a silver background, Coke Zero cans will use black and Coke Life, will feature green.
The company argues that the new designs will help people make better informed choices between the products. However, many customers may find the similarities confusing and it difficult to differentiate between the products. Imagine pushing the wrong buttons on a vending machine because the products look so alike. The company has made major marketing mistakes in the past (e.g., New Coke).
“Packaging is our most visible and valuable asset,” said Marcos de Quinto, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, who presented the new packaging within the context of the “One-Brand” strategy. “By applying the Coca-Cola Red Disc to our packaging in such a bold way, we are taking the next step towards full adoption of the ‘One-Brand’ strategy, uniting the Coca-Cola family under one visual identity and making it even easier for consumers to choose their Coca-Cola with or without calories, with or without caffeine.”
Realistically, however, employing a consistent design and naming strategy cuts costs. It allows for one-brand advertising that ties all the Coca-Cola soda products together and eliminates the need for different designs and packaging.
Coca-Cola is trying to reinvigorate its soft drink business as consumers as drinking fewer sodas. With intensified competition from bottled waters (each major soft drink companies owns a water brand; Dasani is theirs), canned coffee products and other evidence of changing customer habits around the world, they are stepping up their marketing efforts.
A version of the new packaging was tested in Spain, Russia and Chile. The effort resulted some tweaks made ahead of the formal Mexico rollout next month. Similar versions of the Red Disc packaging will be introduced in additional countries throughout 2016 and into 2017.
While the company claims that the new look they revealed and disappearing old brand looks will be worldwide, Coca-Cola has no plans to make changes in the U.S. this year. The company is reportedly still testing a variety of packaging graphics in this market and has yet to set a timetable.
Written and Edited by Dyanne Weiss
Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola Reveals New “One Brand” Packaging
Washington Post: The new look for Coke … more of the same
Daily Mail: Coca-Cola reveals new look for its cans and bottles with ‘One Brand’ design
Boston Globe: Coca-Cola to revamp cans
Photo courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company