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New Coke

New Coke: The Most Memorable Marketing Blunder Ever?

The history of new coke.

To hear some tell it, April 23, 1985, was a day that will live in marketing infamy.

On that day, The Coca‑Cola Company took arguably the biggest risk in consumer goods history, announcing that it was changing the formula for the world's most popular soft drink, and spawning consumer angst the likes of which no business has ever seen.

The Coca‑Cola Company took arguably the biggest risk in consumer goods history, announcing that it was changing the formula for the world's most popular soft drink, and spawning consumer angst the likes of which no business has ever seen.

Swinging for the fences.

The Coca‑Cola Company introduced reformulated Coca‑Cola, often referred to as "new Coke," marking the first formula change in 99 years. The company didn't set out to create the firestorm of consumer protest that ensued; instead, The Coca‑Cola Company intended to re-energize its Coca‑Cola brand and the cola category in its largest market, the United States.

That firestorm ended with the return of the original formula, now called Coca‑Cola classic, a few months later. The return of original formula Coca‑Cola on July 11, 1985, put the cap on 79 days that revolutionized the soft-drink industry, transformed The Coca‑Cola Company and stands today as testimony to the power of taking intelligent risks, even when they don't quite work as intended.

"We set out to change the dynamics of sugar colas in the United States, and we did exactly that -- albeit not in the way we had planned," then chairman and chief executive officer Roberto Goizueta said in 1995 at a special employee event honoring the 10-year anniversary of "new Coke."

"But the most significant result of 'new Coke' by far," Mr. Goizueta said, "was that it sent an incredibly powerful signal ... a signal that we really were ready to do whatever was necessary to build value for the owners of our business."

New Coke Canadian Can

Factors That Shaped the Launch Decision

The story of "new Coke" is widely recalled, but the context is often forgotten. In 1985, The Coca‑Cola Company's share lead over its chief competitor, in its flagship market, with its flagship product, had been slowly slipping for 15 consecutive years. The cola category in general was lethargic. Consumer preference for Coca‑Cola was dipping, as was consumer awareness. That changed, of course, in the summer of 1985 as the consumer outcry over "new Coke" was replaced by consumer affection for Coca‑Cola classic.

The fabled secret formula for Coca‑Cola was changed, adopting a formula preferred in taste tests of nearly 200,000 consumers. What these tests didn't show, of course, was the bond consumers felt with their Coca‑Cola — something they didn't want anyone, including The Coca‑Cola Company, tampering with.

The events of the spring and summer of '85 — pundits blasting the "marketing blunder of the century," consumers hoarding the "old" Coke, calls of protests by the thousands — changed forever The Coca‑Cola Company's thinking.

At the 10-year anniversary celebration, Mr. Goizueta characterized the "new Coke" decision as a prime example of "taking intelligent risks." He urged all employees to take intelligent risks in their jobs, saying it was critical to the company's success. Many of the employees there that day had worked for the company in 1985 and remembered the thousands of calls and consumer complaints.

Calls flooded in not just to the 800-GET-COKE phone line, but to Coca‑Cola offices across the United States. By June 1985, The Coca‑Cola Company was getting 1,500 calls a day on its consumer hotline, compared with 400 a day before the taste change. People seemed to hold any Coca‑Cola employee — from security officers at our headquarters building to their neighbors who worked for Coke — personally responsible for the change.

Mr. Goizueta received a letter addressed to "Chief Dodo, The Coca‑Cola Company." (He often said he was more upset that it was actually delivered to him!) Another person wrote to him asking for his autograph — because, in years to come, the signature of "one of the dumbest executives in American business history" would be worth a fortune.

When the taste change was announced, some consumers panicked, filling their basements with cases of Coke®. A man in San Antonio, Texas, drove to a local bottler and bought $1,000 worth of Coca‑Cola. Some people got depressed over the loss of their favorite soft drink. Suddenly everyone was talking about Coca‑Cola, realizing what an important role it played in his or her life.

Protest groups — such as the Society for the Preservation of the Real Thing and Old Cola Drinkers of America (which claimed to have recruited 100,000 in a drive to bring back "old" Coke) — popped up around the country. Songs were written to honor the old taste. Protesters at a Coca‑Cola event in downtown Atlanta in May carried signs with "We want the real thing" and "Our children will never know refreshment."

The Return of a Classic

When the announcement of the return of "old" Coca‑Cola was made in July 1985, those hoarding as many as 900 bottles in their basements could stop their self-imposed rationing and begin to drink the product as they always had — as often as they'd like.

That July day, the story that the "old" Coca‑Cola was returning to store shelves as Coca‑Cola classic led two network newscasts and made the front page of virtually every major newspaper. Consumers applauded the decision. In just two days after the announcement of Coca‑Cola classic, The Coca‑Cola Company received 31,600 telephone calls on the hotline. Coca‑Cola was obviously more than just a soft drink.

Coca‑Cola classic was sold alongside Coca‑Cola ("new Coke"), and the two brands had distinct advertising campaigns, with the youthful, leading-edge "Catch the Wave" campaign for the new taste of Coke and the emotional "Red, White and You" for Coca‑Cola classic. Later, the name of the new taste of Coca‑Cola was changed to Coke II; the product is no longer available in the United States.

The events of 1985 changed forever the dynamics of the soft-drink industry and the success of The Coca‑Cola Company, as the Coca‑Cola brand soared to new heights and consumers continued to remember the love they have for Coca‑Cola.

Related Content

Coca‑Cola Collaborates with Tech Partners to Create Bottle Prototype Made from 100% Plant-Based Sources


Coca‑Cola Launches ‘Real Magic’ Brand Platform, Including Refreshed Visual Identity and Global Campaign


Iteration, for Good: How Project Last Mile is Supporting COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Africa and Beyond


coca cola failure case study

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Why Coca-Cola’s ‘New Coke’ Flopped

By: Christopher Klein

Updated: September 14, 2023 | Original: April 23, 2015

New Coke

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The time-tested adage appears to be the lesson from Coca-Cola’s disastrous introduction of “New Coke." Except in 1985, Coca-Cola indeed thought its signature brand was broken.

Although Coca-Cola remained the world’s best-selling soft drink, rival Pepsi-Cola continued to gain market share in the 1970s and early 1980s, thanks in part to its aggressive “Pepsi Challenge” campaign in which consumers taking blind taste tests were surprised to learn they preferred the flavor of Pepsi. To the shock of Coca-Cola, internal taste tests yielded the same results. Company executives grew convinced that its soda’s taste—not its rival’s advertisements targeting the “Pepsi Generation”—was the reason for its declining market share.

coca cola failure case study

The Food That Built America

Watch every season of the hit show The Food That Built America . Available to stream now.

Since its introduction in 1886, Coca-Cola’s secret recipe had been tweaked several times—such as when changing sweeteners from cane sugar to beet sugar to corn syrup—but its taste had remained constant. While the company was developing the unique formula for Diet Coke, which was introduced in 1982, it found in top-secret taste tests that a sweeter version of the concoction beat not only Pepsi but the classic version of Coke. Executives decided to make a risky change.

Coca-Cola bets everything on New Coke

On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola Company chairman and CEO Roberto Goizueta stepped before the press gathered at New York City’s Lincoln Center to introduce the new formula, which he declared to be “smoother, rounder, yet bolder—a more harmonious flavor.” The press, however, said what Goizueta couldn’t admit: New Coke tasted sweeter and more like Pepsi.

Had it been an opera, the Lincoln Center performance would have been a tragedy to devoted fans of Coke’s original formula. Rather than divide its market share between two sugar sodas, Coca-Cola discontinued its 99-year classic recipe and locked Formula 7x away in an Atlanta bank vault with the intention that it never again see the light of day.

“Some may choose to call this the boldest single marketing move in the history of the packaged-goods business,” Goizueta said. “We simply call it the surest move ever made.” Coca-Cola president Donald Keough echoed the certainty: “I’ve never been as confident about a decision as I am about the one we’re announcing today.”

New Coke falls flat

While Goizueta and Keough toasted each other with cans of New Coke, the news was already beginning to fall flat. On the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Coca-Cola dropped, while those of its rival rose. Pepsi gave its employees the day off and declared victory in full-page newspaper advertisements that boasted, ‘‘After 87 years of going at it eyeball to eyeball, the other guy just blinked.’’

New Coke left a bitter taste in the mouths of the company’s loyal customers. Within weeks of the announcement, the company was fielding 5,000 angry phone calls a day. By June, that number grew to 8,000 calls a day, a volume that forced the company to hire extra operators. “I don’t think I’d be more upset if you were to burn the flag in our front yard,” one disgruntled drinker wrote to company headquarters. At protests staged by grassroots groups such as “Old Cola Drinkers of America,” consumers poured the contents of New Coke bottles into sewer drains. One Seattle consumer even filed suit against the company to force it to provide the old drink.

The outrage caught Coca-Cola executives by surprise. They had hardly made a rash decision unsupported by data. After all, they had performed 190,000 blind taste tests on U.S. and Canadian consumers. The problem, though, is that the company had underestimated loyal drinkers’ emotional attachments to the brand. Never did its market research testers ask subjects how they would feel if the new formula replaced the old one.

Coca-Cola Classic returns 

Seventy-nine days after their initial announcement, Coca-Cola executives once again held a press conference on July 11, 1985—this time to announce a mea culpa and the return of the original formula, which hardly had time to gather dust in its Atlanta bank vault, under the label “Coca-Cola Classic.” “Our boss is the consumer,” Keough said. “We want them to know we’re really sorry.” The news was so momentous that television networks broke into normal programming with special reports.

Coca-Cola Classic quickly outsold New Coke and within a few months had returned to its position as the top-selling sugar cola, ahead of Pepsi. The company rebranded the new formula “Coke II” in 1990 before it was eventually abandoned in 2002. In spite of the blowback, Coca-Cola emerged from the fiasco with its market position actually strengthened as consumers rediscovered their attachment to the iconic brand. (Moreover, in 2019, Coca-Cola actually re-released a very limited run of New Coke.) 

“The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people,” Keough admitted. The blunder was so colossal that some thought it must have been an intentional marketing gimmick. “Some cynics say that we planned the whole thing,” Keough said. “The truth is we’re not that dumb and we’re not that smart.”

coca cola failure case study

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Failure Case Study: Coca-Cola Life – Targeting the “middle ground” fails to resonate with consumers

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coca cola failure case study

Published: May 31, 2017 Report Code: CS1718SF-ST

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"Failure Case Study: Coca-Cola Life" is part of GlobalData's Successes and Failures research. It examines the details of and reasons behind Coca-Cola's first moderate-calorie cola's failure in the UK. It delivers the critical "what?", "why?", and "so what?" analysis to teach you crucial lessons that increase your chances of launching successful products as well as avoiding risks.

In the UK, Coca-Cola Life sold 21.5 million liters in 2015, accounting for just 1.2% of the total UK sales of Coca-Cola's four main colas. The country has a relatively large market for diet colas, so understandably the new lower-sugar and -calorie cola was considered to have potential. However, Coca-Cola Life struggled to resonate with UK consumers, who could not see the advantages over the already popular zero-sugar Coke Zero and Diet Coke options.

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How Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Amazon Learn from Failure

  • Bill Taylor

coca cola failure case study

Encourage your team to embrace mistakes.

Too many leaders live in fear of mistakes, missteps, and disappointments. But if you’re not prepared to fail, you’re not prepared to learn.

In May, right after he became CEO of Coca-Cola Co., James Quincey called upon rank-and-file managers to get beyond the fear of failure that had dogged the company since the “New Coke” fiasco of so many years ago. “If we’re not making mistakes,” he insisted, “we’re not trying hard enough.”

In June, even as his company was enjoying unparalleled success with its subscribers, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings worried that his fabulously valuable streaming service had  too many  hit shows and was canceling too few new shows. “Our hit ratio is too high right now,” he told a technology conference. “We have to take more risk…to try more crazy things…we should have a higher cancel rate overall.”

Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, arguably the most successful entrepreneur in the world, makes the case as directly as he can that his company’s growth and innovation is built on its failures. “If you’re going to take bold bets, they’re going to be experiments,” he explained shortly after Amazon bought Whole Foods. “And if they’re experiments, you don’t know ahead of time if they’re going to work. Experiments are by their very nature prone to failure. But a few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.”

Why, all of a sudden, are so many successful business leaders urging their companies and colleagues to make more mistakes and embrace more failures?

coca cola failure case study

  • Bill Taylor  is the cofounder of Fast Company  and the author, most recently, of  Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways .   Learn more at williamctaylor.com.

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Watch CBS News

​30 years ago today, Coca-Cola made its worst mistake

By Rachid Haoues

April 23, 2015 / 1:57 PM EDT / CBS News

This feature, The Way It Was , resurfaces and explores past stories from the CBS News archives. If there's a topic you'd like to see, leave a suggestion in the comments section or send us a tweet at @CBSEveningNews .

When an athlete is great, he or she is called the Michael Jordan of his or her sport. When a new product launch is a disaster, it is called the "New Coke" of its industry.

That negative association emerged 30 years ago Thursday, on April 23, 1985, when Coca-Cola Company announced a change to its nearly century-old secret formula . The new Coke would have a smoother, sweeter taste -- similar to Diet Coke, but sweetened with corn syrup. Market researchers and pollsters were sure it'd be a hit.

  • Watch: Original 1985 "CBS Evening News" report on new Coke


"This has got to be the boldest consumer products move of any kind of any stripe since Eve started to hand out apples," said Jesse Meyers, publisher of Beverage Digest, in 1985.

"I believe it'll do for brand Coca-Cola what Diet Coca-Cola did for the diet market," added Coca-Cola bottler Bobby Pidgeon.

Coca-Cola was number one at the time, but Pepsi was gaining ground and cutting into Coke's precious market share. In the fierce cola wars of the 80s, new Coke was no shot across the bow. It was meant to be a direct hit.

"These two products, Pepsi and Coke, have been going at it eyeball to eyeball, and in my view the other guy just blinked," said former PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico in 1985.

Blinked Coke did, and in that moment it was blind to what was about to happen.

"I think the new Coke is too sweet, I like the old Coke better," said a woman.

A poll showed that only 13 percent of soda drinkers liked the new Coke. The pop was a bust of epic proportions. Pepsi took full advantage by launching a commercial featuring a girl who asked: "Somebody out there tell me why Coke did it? Why did Coke change?"

Fans weren't upset -- they were angry. So passionate were Coke drinkers that they launched grassroots campaigns across the country to force Coca-Cola to bring back the original Coke.

"It was the people against the corporation -- only in America," reported CBS News' Bob Simon in 1985. "Coke said it was committed, so were the people. In California they collected signatures, in Seattle they set up a hotline."

One protest group in particular gained national attention. The "Old Cola Drinkers of America," headed by Gay Mullins, was relentless in its pursuit to have the original Coke return. They set up petitions, provided pins with new Coke crossed out, and spoke to the media about their mission.


Eventually the pressure from the fans and the press became too much. Coca-Cola showed signs of cracking when it launched a commercial featuring Donald Keough, the longtime president of the Coca-Cola Company in 1985.

"We're bringing it back, the original taste of Coca-Cola returns as Coca-Cola Classic and soon America will have a real choice: the new taste of Coke or the original taste of Coca-Cola Classic," said Donald Keough, Pres. Coca-Cola Company.

"Well I think we've won," said Gay Mullins. "I think the Coca-Cola Company, if in fact they start producing the old Cola, we've won."


The victory was made official on July 11, 1985 when Coca-Cola held a press conference to officially announce the return of the old Coke - and to admit it had made a mistake.

"The simple fact is that all of the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on a new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the depth and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people," said Keough.

For the record, the drink wasn't actually called "New Coke," it was Coke with the word "new" on the can but the product took on the name with the public. Eventually the soft drink fizzled out.

Epic, embarrassing product failures

Its legacy is one of mockery, often appearing atop lists of "Epic, Embarrassing Product Failures." But the truth is the 77-day fiasco that followed the launch may very well have been a blessing in disguise, perhaps even a good mistake. It taught Coca-Cola a valuable lesson that the company continues to draw from.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson told CBS News this week:

"Thirty years ago, we introduced New Coke with no shortage of hype and fanfare. And it did succeed in shaking up the market. But not in the way it was intended. When we look back, this was the pivotal moment when we learned that fiercely loyal consumers -- not the Company -- own Coca-Cola and all of our brands. It is a lesson that we take seriously and one that becomes clearer and more obvious with each passing anniversary."

More from CBS News


Coca Cola Brand Failure

June 10, 2023 | By Hitesh Bhasin | Filed Under: Marketing

Think of a brand success story, and you may well think of Coca-Cola. Indeed, with nearly 1 billion Coca-Cola drinks sold every single day, it is the world’s most recognized brand.

Yet in 1985 the Coca-Cola Company decided to terminate its most popular soft drink and replace it with a formula it would market as New Coke. New coke was a Coca cola brand failure story. To understand why this potentially disastrous decision was made, it is necessary to appreciate what was happening in the soft drinks marketplace. In particular, we must take a closer look at the growing competition between Coca-Cola and Pepsi -Cola in the years and even decades prior to the launch of New Coke.

Coca cola brand failure

The relationship between the arch-rivals had not been a healthy one. Although marketing experts have believed for a long time that the competi­tion between the two companies had made consumers more cola-conscious, the firms themselves rarely saw it like that. Indeed, the Coca-Cola company had even fought Pepsi-Cola in a legal battle over the use of the word ‘cola’ in its name, and lost.

Outside the courts though, Coca-Cola had always been ahead. Shortly after World War II, Time magazine was already celebrating Coke’s ‘peaceful near-conquest of the world.’ In the late 1950s, Coke outsold Pepsi by a ratio of more than five to one. However, during the next decade Pepsi repositioned itself as a youth brand.

This strategy was a risky one as it meant sacrificing its older customers to Coca-Cola, but ultimately it proved successful. By narrowing its focus, Pepsi was able to position its brand against the old and classic image of its competitor. As it became increasingly seen as ‘the drink of youth’ Pepsi managed to narrow the gap .

In the 1970s, Coke’s chief rival raised the stakes even further by intro­ducing the Pepsi Challenge — testing consumers blind on the difference between its own brand and ‘the real thing’. To the horror of Coca-Cola’s long­standing company president, Robert Woodruff, most of those who partici­pated preferred Pepsi’s sweeter formula.

In the 1980s Pepsi continued its offensive, taking the Pepsi Challenge around the globe and heralding the arrival of the ‘Pepsi Generation’. It also signed up celebrities likely to appeal to its target market such as Don Johnson and Michael Jackson (this tactic has survived into the new millennium, with figures like Britney Spears and Robbie Williams providing more recent endorsements).

By the time Roberto Goizueta became chairman in 1981, Coke’s number one status was starting to look vulnerable. It was losing market share not only to Pepsi but also to some of the drinks produced by the Coca-Cola company itself, such as Fanta and Sprite . In particular the runaway success of Diet Coke was a double-edged sword, as it helped to shrink the sugar cola market. In 1983, the year Diet Coke moved into the number three position behind standard Coke and Pepsi, Coke’s market share had slipped to an all-time low of just under 24 per cent.

Something clearly had to be done to secure Coke’s supremacy. Goizueta’s first response to the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ phenomenon was to launch an advertising campaign in 1984, praising Coke for being less sweet than Pepsi. The television ads were fronted by Bill Cosby, at that time one of the most familiar faces on the planet, and clearly someone who was too old to be part of the Pepsi Generation.

The impact of such efforts to set Coca-Cola apart from its rival was limited. Coke’s share of the market remained the same while Pepsi was catching up. Another worry was that when shoppers had the choice, such as in their local supermarket, they tended to plump for Pepsi. It was only Coke’s more effective distribution which kept it ahead. For instance, there were still considerably more vending machines selling Coke than Pepsi.

Even so, there was no getting away from the fact that despite the prolifera­tion of soft drink brands , Pepsi was winning new customers. Having already lost on taste, the last thing Coca-Cola could afford was to lose its number one status.

The problem, as Coca-Cola perceived it, came down to the product itself. As the Pepsi Challenge had highlighted millions of times over, Coke could always be defeated when it came down to taste. This seemed to be confirmed by the success of Diet Coke which was closer to Pepsi in terms of flavour.

So in what must have been seen as a logical step, Coca-Cola started working on a new formula. A year later they had arrived at New Coke. Having produced its new formula, the Atlanta-based company conducted 200,000 taste tests to see how it fared. The results were overwhelming. Not only did it taste better than the original, but people preferred it to Pepsi-Cola as well.

However, if Coca-Cola was to stay ahead of Pepsi-Cola it couldn’t have two directly competing products on the shelves at the same time. It therefore decided to scrap the original Coca-Cola and introduced New Coke in its place.

The trouble was that the Coca-Cola company had severely underestimated the power of its first brand. As soon as the decision was announced, a large percentage of the US population immediately decided to boycott the new product. On 23 April 1985 New Coke was introduced and a few days later the production of original Coke was stopped. This joint decision has since been referred to as ‘the biggest marketing blunder of all time’. Sales of New Coke were low and public outrage was high at the fact that the original was no longer available.

It soon became clear that Coca-Cola had little choice but to bring back its original brand and formula. ‘We have heard you,’ said Goizueta at a press conference on 11 July 1985. He then left it to the company’s chief operating officer Donald Keough to announce the return of the product.

Keough admitted:

The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people. The passion for original Coca-Cola — and that is the word for it, passion — was something that caught us by surprise. It is a wonderful American mystery, a lovely American enigma, and you cannot measure it any more than you can measure love, pride or patriotism.

In other words, Coca-Cola had learnt that marketing is about much more than the product itself. The majority of the tests had been carried out blind, and therefore taste was the only factor under assessment. The company had finally taken Pepsi’s bait and, in doing so, conceded its key brand asset: originality.

When Coca-Cola was launched in the 1880s it was the only product in the market. As such, it invented a new category and the brand name became the name of the product itself. Throughout most of the last century, Coca-Cola capitalized on its ‘original’ status in various advertising campaigns . In 1942, magazine adverts appeared across the United States declaring: ‘The only thing like Coca-Cola is Coca-Cola itself. It’s the real thing.’

By launching New Coke, Coca-Cola was therefore contradicting its previous marketing efforts. Its central product hadn’t been called new since the very first advert appeared in the Atlanta Journal in 1886, billing Coca-Cola as ‘The New Pop Soda Fountain Drink, containing the properties of the wonderful Coca-plant and the famous Cola nuts.’

In 1985, a century after the product launched, the last word people associated with Coca-Cola was ‘new’. This was the company with more allusions to US heritage than any other. Fifty years previously, the Pulitzer Prize winning editor of a Kansas newspaper, William Allen White had referred to the soft drink as the ‘sublimated essence of all America stands for — a decent thing, honestly made, universally distributed, conscientiously improved with the years.’ Coca-Cola had even been involved with the history of US space travel, famously greeting Apollo astronauts with a sign reading ‘Welcome back to earth, home of Coca-Cola.’

To confine the brand’s significance to a question of taste was therefore completely misguided. As with many big brands, the representation was more significant than the thing represented, and if any soft drink represented ‘new’ it was Pepsi, not Coca-Cola (even though Pepsi is a mere decade younger).

If you tell the world you have the ‘real thing’ you cannot then come up with a ‘new real thing’. To borrow the comparison of marketing guru Al Ries it’s ‘like introducing a New God’. This contradictory marketing message was accentuated by the fact that, since 1982, Coke’s strap line had been ‘Coke is it’. Now it was telling consumers that they had got it wrong, as if they had discovered Coke wasn’t it, but rather New Coke was instead.

So despite the tremendous amount of hype which surrounded the launch of New Coke (one estimate puts the value of New Coke’s free publicity at over US $10 million), it was destined to fail. Although Coca-Cola’s market researchers knew enough about branding to understand that consumers would go with their brand preference if the taste tests weren’t blind, they failed to make the connection that these brand preferences would still exist once the product was launched.

Pepsi was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first to recognize Coca-Cola’s mistake. Within weeks of the launch, it ran a TV ad with an old man sitting on a park bench, staring at the can in his hand. ‘They changed my Coke,’ he said, clearly distressed. ‘I can’t believe it.’

However, when Coca-Cola relaunched its original coke, redubbed ‘Classic Coke’ for the US market, the media interest swung back in the brand’s favour. It was considered a significant enough event to warrant a newsflash on ABC News and other US networks. Within months Coke had returned to the number one spot and New Coke had all but faded away.

Ironically, through the brand failure of New Coke loyalty to ‘the real thing’ intensified. In fact, certain conspiracy theorists have even gone so far as to say the whole thing had been planned as a deliberate marketing ploy to reaffirm public affection for Coca-Cola. After all, what better way to make someone appreciate the value of your global brand than to withdraw it completely?

Of course, Coca-Cola has denied that this was the company’s intention. ‘Some critics will say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake, some cynics will say that we planned the whole thing,’ said Donald Keough at the time. ‘The truth is we are not that dumb, and we are not that smart.’ But viewed in the context of its competition with Pepsi, the decision to launch New Coke was understandable. For years, Pepsi’s key weapon had been the taste of its product. By launching New Coke, the Coca-Cola company clearly hoped to weaken its main rival’s marketing offensive.

So what was Pepsi’s verdict on the whole episode? In his book, The Other Guy Blinked, Pepsi’s CEO Roger Enrico believes the error of New Coke proved to be a valuable lesson for Coca-Cola. ‘I think, by the end of their nightmare, they figured out who they really are. Caretakers. They can’t change the taste of their flagship brand. They can’t change its imagery. All they can do is defend the heritage they nearly abandoned in 1985.’

Lessons from New Coke

  • Concentrate on the brand’s perception . In the words ofJack Trout, author of Differentiate or Die, ‘marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products’.
  • Don’t clone your rivals. In creating New Coke, Coca-Cola was reversing its brand image to overlap with that of Pepsi. The company has made similar mistakes both before and after, launching Mr Pibb to rival Dr Pepper and Fruitopia to compete with Snapple .
  • Feel the love. According to Saatchi and Saatchi’s worldwide chief executive officer , Kevin Roberts, successful brands don’t have ‘trademarks’. They have ‘lovemarks’ instead. In building brand loyalty , companies are also creating an emotional attachment that often has little to do with the quality of the product.
  • Don’t be scared to U-turn. By going back on its decision to scrap original Coke, the company ended up creating an even stronger bond between the product and the consumer.
  • Do the right market research . Despite the thousands of taste tests Coca-Cola carried out on its new formula, it failed to conduct adequate research into the public perception of the original brand.

Liked this post? Check out the complete series on Branding

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  • What is Brand Brief? Components of Brand Brief and Examples
  • What is Brand Culture? How to build a good Brand Culture?
  • What is Brand Adaptation? Brand Adaptation Examples and Challenges
  • Leveraging Secondary Brand Associations to Build Brand Equity

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Failure Case Study: Coca-Cola Life - Targeting the "Middle Ground" Fails to Resonate with Consumers - Research and Markets

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Failure Case Study: Coca-Cola Life - Targeting the "middle ground" fails to resonate with consumers" report to their offering.

"Failure Case Study: Coca-Cola Life" is part of the analyst's Successes and Failures research. It examines the details of and reasons behind Coca-Cola's first moderate-calorie cola's failure in the UK. It delivers the critical "what?", "why?", and "so what?" analysis to teach you crucial lessons that increase your chances of launching successful products as well as avoiding risks.

In the UK, Coca-Cola Life sold 21.5 million liters in 2015, accounting for just 1.2% of the total UK sales of Coca-Cola's four main colas. The country has a relatively large market for diet colas, so understandably the new lower-sugar and -calorie cola was considered to have potential. However, Coca-Cola Life struggled to resonate with UK consumers, who could not see the advantages over the already popular zero-sugar Coke Zero and Diet Coke options.

  • Launched in the UK in 2014, Coca-Cola Life contained 36% fewer calories than regular Coca-Cola, due to a formulation that used stevia extract to reduce the sugar content by 37%. Despite a lot of publicity upon launch and a recipe reformulation to reduce sugar and calories further, Cola-Cola Life is now in the process of being pulled from shelves.
  • The "in-between" formulation failed to appeal to consumers, given the brand already had zero-sugar and -calorie options (Coke Zero and Diet Coke) available as an alternative to standard Coca-Cola.
  • Adopting a "middle-ground" approach is risky, especially if it fails to address a genuine consumer need.
  • Soft drinks purchases are driven by brand familiarity, sensory attributes, and health, yet Coca-Cola Life failed to resonate because it did not offer clear advantages over Coke's existing line-up.
  • Developing breakfast cereal influenced by Western culture to meet local sensory preferences generates opportunities.

Key Topics Covered:

  • About Successes & Failures Case Studies
  • Summary: Coca-Cola Life
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Companies Mentioned

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/t8gxhn/failure_case

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170623005442/en/

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  • Failure Case Study: Coca-Cola Life - Targeting the "Middle Ground" Fails to Resonate with Consumers - Research and Markets
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Indian Business Case Studies Volume II

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16 Coca-Cola: ‘Taste the Controversy’: A Case Study on Marketing Challenges

  • Published: June 2022
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The not so lucky situations and criticism of the Coca-Cola brand come from its first-ever product. As the history from many sources says, Dr John Smith-Pemberton, Coca-Cola creator, fought in the Civil War, and had some injuries. He made a special formula in order to help him deal with the constant pain in his body: the Pemberton’s French Wine Coca which also had a great taste at the time, had alcohol in it. It quickly became very popular until a vote by the state legislature Atlanta and Fulton County in favour of the national temperance movement. The national temperance movement prohibited the use of alcohol and heavily criticized medicinal wine such as French Wine Coca. Pemberton was forced to drop the wine ingredient in his French Wine Coca. After some further experimenting, he decided on the use of sugar syrup as a substitution for the wine and that is when Coca-Cola was born. He invented many drugs, but none of them ever made any money. So, after a move to Atlanta, Pemberton decided to try his hand in the beverage market. In his time, the soda fountain was rising in popularity as a social gathering spot. Temperance was keeping patrons out of bars, so making a soda-fountain drink just made sense. And this was when Coca-Cola was born.

Learning Objectives

To study marketing challenges posed by changing environment. To study the importance of corporate and product image in marketing of the product. To study the importance of customer perception of the product and the company and company ethics. To study the role of marketing communication in creating positive image of the product.

The not so lucky situations and criticism of the Coca-Cola brand come from its first-ever product. As the history from many sources says, Dr John Smith-Pemberton, Coca-Cola creator, fought in the Civil War, and had some injuries. He made a special formula in order to help him deal with the constant pain in his body: the Pemberton’s French Wine Coca which also had a great taste at the time, had alcohol in it. It quickly became very popular until a vote by the state legislature Atlanta and Fulton County in favour of the national temperance movement.

The national temperance movement prohibited the use of alcohol and heavily criticized medicinal wine such as French Wine Coca. Pemberton was forced to drop the wine ingredient in his French Wine Coca. After some further experimenting, he decided on the use of sugar syrup as a substitution for the wine and that is when Coca-Cola was born. He invented many drugs, but none of them ever made any money. So, after a move to Atlanta, Pemberton decided to try his hand in the beverage market. In his time, the soda fountain was rising in popularity as a social gathering spot. Temperance was keeping patrons out of bars, so making a soda-fountain drink just made sense. And this was when Coca-Cola was born.

However, Pemberton had no idea how to advertise. This is where Frank Robinson came in. He registered Coca-Cola’s formula with the patent office, and he designed the logo. He also wrote the slogan, ‘The Pause That Refreshes’. Coke did not do so well in its first year. And to make matters worse, Doc Pemberton (who invented the formula in 1886) died in August 1888, meaning he would never see the commercial success he had been seeking.

After Pemberton’s death, a man named Asa Griggs Candler rescued the business. In 1891, he became the sole owner of Coca-Cola. A controversial move on the part of Candler was to sell Coca-Cola syrup as a patent medicine, claiming it would get rid of fatigue and headaches.

In 1898, however, Congress passed a tax in the wake of the Spanish-American war. The tax was on all medicines, so Coca-Cola wanted to be sold only as a beverage. After a court battle, Coca-Cola was no longer sold as a drug.

Now, the Coca-Cola Company is one the most renowned beverage companies in the world. It owns the majority of the soft drink market around the world, distributing roughly 160 different products. According to Forbes Magazine, Coca-Cola is one of the world’s most innovative companies with a net worth of 192.8 billion. Since the early 2000s, the criticisms over the use of Coca-Cola products as well as the company itself, escalated with concerns over health effects, environmental issues, animal testing, economic business practices, and employee issues. The Coca-Cola Company has been faced with multiple lawsuits concerning the various criticisms, fuelled by social media, especially in the last few years.

Rumours, Myths, and Truth

According to Coca-Cola, Pemberton brewed the first mix of his new drink in his backyard, using a modest three-legged kettle. Coca-Cola also states that cocaine was never an ingredient in the elixir.

According to Mark Pendergrast, author of ‘For God, Country & Coca-Cola’, the syrup was meant to go along with the culture of the times. The syrup was to be advertised as a ‘nerve tonic’ to calm people down. Also, it was advertised under Candler’s reign to cure headaches and fatigue. Pendergrast also says that Coca-Cola did in fact have a negligible amount of cocaine in it. Even though Candler said he would shut down the Coca-Cola operation if the drink was found to be harmful, the drink did contain coca leaves.

The syrup had one half-ounce of coca leaf per gallon, amounting to about a little over one-hundredth of a grain. Coca-Cola was named for its two principal drug ingredients. Coca leaf from Peru contained cocaine. Kola nut from Ghana contained caffeine. Original Coca-Cola had a very small amount of cocaine in a six-ounce drink, about 4.3 milligrams. The company took out all but a minuscule amount of cocaine in 1903 and the final amount in 1928. It made the drink very controversial, but it also contributed to Coca-Cola’s success.

Coca-Cola is not fascinating for what it is—coloured sugar water with bubbles—but for what it represents. And that’s a point long known by the company’s marketers, with the exception of when they forgot it during the New Coke fiasco in the 1980s. Today, marketing students in business schools everywhere study that famous gaff.

Despite the decades-old slogan, ‘Delicious and Refreshing’, people do not drink Coca-Cola for the taste. They drink it because they associate it with positive things like friendship, fun, patriotism, and athleticism. Careful to market the drink to all people, everywhere, without alienating anyone, the ads are often vague. ‘Coke is It!’ What is ‘it’? It’s whatever you want it to be, just as long as it makes you want to buy more Coke!

Ethical Waters

The company claims to adhere to the ‘highest ethical standards’ and to be ‘an outstanding corporate citizen in every community we serve’. Yet Coca-Cola’s activities around the world tell a different story.

Many documentaries have surfaced with strong accusations, from helping spreading obesity, race discrimination, causing extreme water shortages in developing countries where supplies are scarce and killing union leaders around the globe. Some websites are dedicated to persuade the consumers and informing them about alleged cases of corruption, support of military groups, and many other issues that are becoming more evident every day. The evidence of surpassing the law in the third world and developing countries is growing and users in social media are listening and sharing, not worrying about all of this is true or false. New evidence from campaign group War on Want appears to show that Coca-Cola has had a serious impact in communities in several countries. Colombia, Guatemala, Turkey, China, Mexico, Salvador, India, and the list could go on.

In 2006, for example, War on Want researchers have uncovered areas in Rajasthan, India, where farmers have been unable to irrigate their fields after Coca-Cola established a bottling plant. The War on Want report also revealed similar problems in Uttar Pradesh. Already well-known are incidents in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where a Coke plant was forced to close two years ago after it was alleged to have contaminated local water.

Coca-Cola is the largest beverage company in the world, and used 283 billion litres of water in 2004. For every 2.7 litres of water it takes, it produces one litre of product. Its profits last year were just under $15bn and it has a market capitalization of over $100bn. But the firm faces a string of environmental and health issues. It has also endured some embarrassing PR disasters, as when it was forced to withdraw a premium brand of bottled water from the UK after it emerged that it was processed tap water.

Louis Richards added: ‘Across the world, cases of environmental damage, exploitation of water resources and abuses of workers’ rights are shockingly common. It’s time that directors of multinationals held to account—but that will only happen when politicians accept that the current free-for-all is failing the world’s poor.’

The attacks came as critics rounded on Coca-Cola for sponsoring the World Water Forum, currently taking place in Mexico. The forum is a place where water firms, technicians, environmentalists, and consultants discuss how to improve conditions for the 1.1 billion people who do not have access to safe water and sanitation, but it has come under attack for being a talking shop that achieves little.

A Coca-Cola spokesman said: ‘We have a genuine commitment to adequate and equitable access to water. We have reduced our water-use ratios in India by 24 per cent between 2000 and 2004. We have installed rainwater harvesting systems in 26 of our plants so far.’ Coca-Cola’s own workers have also suffered and the company is being increasingly associated with anti-union activities. The most notable case is in Colombia, where paramilitaries have killed eight Coca-Cola workers since 1990. The main Coca-Cola trade union Sinaltrainal is seeking to hold Coca-Cola liable for using paramilitaries to engage in anti-union violence.

Coca-Cola is being sued on behalf of transport workers and their families for its part in the alleged intimidation and torture of trade unionists and their families by special branch police in Turkey. In Nicaragua, workers of the main Coca-Cola union SUTEC have been denied the right to organize and the General Secretary of SUTEC, Daniel Reyes, believes the objective of this ongoing and escalating campaign is to crush the union.

Guatemalan workers have been struggling against Coca-Cola since the 1970s. In the years between 1976 and 1985, three general secretaries of the main union were assassinated and members of their families, friends, and legal advisers were threatened, arrested, kidnapped, shot, tortured, and forced into exile. The violations of workers’ rights continue. And Coca-Cola workers and their family members, with ties to unions, have reportedly been subjected to death threats. Elsewhere in countries such as Peru, Russia, and Chile, Coca-Cola workers have been protesting against the company’s anti-union policies. Coca-Cola claims to exist ‘to benefit and refresh everyone it touches’ and to try to sustain this positive image, the company spends $2 billion a year on advertising alone. Yet there are signs that the image is beginning to crumble. The relay carrying the Olympic flame was repeatedly disrupted by protests at Coca-Cola’s role as the principal sponsor, with the Turin council actually declaring the city a no-go zone for the company (a decision subsequently overruled by the mayor).

University campuses throughout the USA and Europe have voted to cancel contracts with Coca-Cola in protest at its operations, and in solidarity with the community resistance which has escalated in many countries across the world. It is up to us to keep up the pressure on Coca-Cola and also send a strong message to our elected leaders to rein in irresponsible business practices.

Drinking Obesity?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around half of the US population drink sugary beverages on any given day, with consumption of these drinks highest among teenagers and young adults. There are approximately 10 teaspoons of added sugar in a single can of cola. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend consuming no more than six teaspoons of added sugar daily, meaning drinking just one serving of cola a day could take us well above these guidelines.

As such, it is no surprise that sugary drink consumption is associated with an array of health conditions. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, people who drink 1–2 cans of sugary beverages daily are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and last month, Medical News Today reported on a study claiming 184,000 global deaths each year are down to sugary drink consumption.

Now, an info graphic created by British pharmacist Niraj Naik—based on research by health writer Wade Meredith—shows the damage a 330 ml can of Coca-Cola can do to the body within 1 hour of consumption. Coca-Cola is ‘comparable to heroin’ in how it stimulates the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.

According to Naik, the intense sweetness of Coca-Cola as a result of its high sugar content should make us vomit as soon as it enters the body. However, the phosphoric acid in the beverage dulls the sweetness, enabling us to keep the drink down.

Blood sugar levels increase dramatically within 20 minutes of drinking the Cola, explains Naik, causing a burst of insulin. The liver then turns the high amounts of sugar circulating our body into fat.

Within 40 minutes, the body has absorbed all of the caffeine from the Cola, causing a dilation of pupils and an increase in blood pressure. By this point, the adenosine receptors in the brain have been blocked, preventing fatigue.

Five minutes later, production of dopamine has increased—a neurotransmitter that helps control the pleasure and reward centres of the brain. According to the info graphic, the way Coca-Cola stimulates these centres is comparable to the effects of heroin, making us want another can.

An hour after drinking the beverage, a sugar crash will begin, causing irritability and drowsiness. In addition, the water from the Cola will have been cleared from the body via urination, along with nutrients that are important for our health.

According to Naik, the info graphic is not only applicable to Coca-Cola, but to all caffeinated fizzy drinks.

‘Coke is not just high in high fructose corn syrup, but it is also packed with refined salts and caffeine,’ writes Naik on his blog ‘The Renegade Pharmacist’. ‘Regular consumption of these ingredients in the high quantities you find in Coke and other processed foods and drinks, can lead to higher blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.’

‘However a small amount now and then won’t do any major harm,’ he adds. ‘The key is moderation.’

In a press statement, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola says the beverage is ‘perfectly safe to drink and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet and lifestyle.’

Coca-Cola responded to The New York Times article with a statement from Dr Ed Hays, the company’s chief technical officer. He describes the article as an inaccurate portrayal of the company by claiming Coca-Cola was funding research to convince people that diets don’t matter, only exercise.

‘At Coke, we believe that a balanced diet and regular exercise are two key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle and that is reflected in both our long-term and short-term business actions,’ he states.

This response distances the company from the overt and problematic claims made by one of GEBN’s executives. However, it is the mere presence of Coca-Cola as a major funding source for the organization that is an issue for some public health experts.

Industry funding of research is commonplace and, unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that funding sources can influence the outcomes of clinical trials.

A systematic review of 206 studies and reviews about soft drinks, juice, and milk was conducted and published in PLOS Medicine in 2007. Of these articles, 111 declared financial sponsorship, with 22% receiving industry funding, 47% receiving no industry funding, and 32% receiving mixed funding.

A hand holding a glass of cola.

Multiple studies indicate that industry funding increases the likelihood of a study producing positive results. Among interventional studies, the researchers found that 0% of the studies with any industry funding came to unfavourable conclusions compared with 37% of the studies with no industry funding. The authors stated their study indicated that beverage industry-funded studies are four to eight times more likely to produce results favourable to the industry in comparison with studies that are independently funded.

A similar level of bias has been found in other studies examining the influence of pharmaceutical company funding on drug trials and for-profit organizations on trials of new treatment strategies. The findings of such studies suggest that the financial support Coca-Cola gives to GEBN could be very influential in the researchers’ output. The article in The New York Times states that the company donated $1.5 million last year to set up the organization, while nearly $4 million in funding has been provided since 2008 to Dr Blair and another GEBN executive, Gregory A. Hand.

Even if the research conducted can be proved to be influenced by bias, however, experts believe that the mere existence of such research contributes to ‘health halo legitimization’. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, says that the agenda is to ‘get these researchers to confuse the science and deflect attention from dietary intake’.

Creating Doubt: Comparisons with Big Tobacco

Dr Bruce Lee, director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins University, told Health line that Coca-Cola and GEBN’s arrangement crosses a line by promoting a view that sits outside of scientific consensus. ‘When you start trying to say that something is a greater cause of obesity, that’s potentially when we get into a problem,’ he said.

The article in The New York Times compares what Coca-Cola is doing with GEBN with a well-documented strategy employed by tobacco companies: paying for health experts to create doubt about the health hazards of smoking. Last month, Medical News Today reported on a study that analysed cases in which patients were suing tobacco companies for damages.

The researchers discovered that a group of physicians testified for the tobacco industry against patients dying of cancer on multiple occasions, repeatedly stating that their smoking did not cause cancer. Three major tobacco companies—R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, and Lorillard—paid a pool of six board-certified otolaryngologists to testify in over 50 cases, using methods to support their testimony that researchers deemed unscientific.

‘By highlighting an exhaustive list of potential risk factors, such as alcohol, diesel fumes, machinery fluid, salted fish, reflux of stomach acid, mouthwash and even urban living, they created doubt in the minds of the jurors as to the role of smoking in the plaintiff’s cancer,’ the authors report. With the prevalence of obesity and sugary drinks in the US, arrangements such as the one between Coca-Cola and GEBN cannot but appear problematic. The CDC state that around half of the US population consume sugary beverages every day.

While many policy-making groups are looking to reduce the rate at which such beverages are consumed, the existence of scientific research arguing that sugary drinks are not hazardous to health will prove to be a stumbling block.

Consuming small amounts of sugary drinks from time to time will not necessarily harm an individual, but repeated messages suggesting that such drinks are fine and that exercise is more important could have a long-lasting effect on public health.

The End of the Coke Era?

Lara O’Reilly in Business Insider Website wrote down an article about this phenomenon.

Too many times in recent months, headline writers have had reason to write that ‘Coke is losing its fizz’.

Pepsi-Cola surpassed Diet Coke to become the second-biggest soda brand in the US, Coca-Cola’s biggest market, Beverage Digest reported last month. Diet Coke had been the second-biggest soda brand by volume in the US since 2010, but Pepsi’s shift back to No. 2 provided evidence of America’s growing dislike for diet sodas—and that is at a time when Americans are drinking less soda overall than in the 1980s.

Before that report was published, Coca-Cola reported that net earnings attributable to shareholders plunged 55% in its fourth quarter to $770 million. Net operating revenue dropped 2% in the quarter to $10.9 billion (but global sales did increase slightly over the full year). North America, its biggest market, saw a modest sales rise for the first time in four quarters.

The long-term picture is worse. In 2014, global revenue was $46 billion, down 4% ($2 billion less) from 2012. This downward trajectory isn’t due to a sudden, major catalyst. As Beverage Digest’s report explains (emphasis added): ‘Brand Coke’s volume was up (0.1%), but just barely. However, the brand was up, after multiple years of decline. The last time brand Coke grew was 2000.’

Globally, Coca-Cola has been missing its own 3% to 4% annual volume growth target for two years, as this chart—drawn from data compiled by The Wall Street Journal —indicates.

Coca-Cola/The Wall Street Journal/Business Insider

It’s not just Coke experiencing this issue, the entire soda market in the US, picking out one region as an example, is in decline. The attention is on Coke because it is the leader of the sector. It may yet be decades before people start referring to Coke in the same way they do Kodak, and its terminal decline may not even happen at all. But if the company does not make a big strategic move soon, a massively mature market could be coming to an end. Right now, Coke is on the way out. Not with a bang, but a long, slow whimper.

Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent said 2015 would be a ‘transition year’, and that it would like time for the benefits of the $3 billion cost-cutting plan it announced in October to materialize ‘amidst an uncertain and volatile macroeconomic environment’.

The ‘transition’ Kent is looking for is already evident in some of its most recent actions: It has invited 10 agencies to pitch ideas for its next global marketing campaign. In Europe it has redesigned the packaging across all its different flavours to look the same, and it is dropping its marketing for individual brands like Diet Coke and Coke Zero. All marketing will instead be consolidated under the Coca-Cola brand in the region (you will still see other products from the portfolio in ads, but there will be no more individual ads like the famous ‘Diet Coke hunk’ campaign).

But as sales continue to fall from previous heights as consumers change their drinking habits, opting for healthier beverages (its portfolio of sugary drinks is another reason Coke often hits the headlines for negative reasons) are the big marketing changes coming all too late, or can they really save the company from falling into a terminal decline?

‘The Days of Coke Being the World’s Biggest Brand Are over Forever’

No matter which stat you look at, Coke’s value as a business appears to be eroding.

In recent years, Coca-Cola has been edged out of the top five in BrandZ’s annual ‘top 100 most valuable brands’ rankings by tech companies, and even McDonald’s. Coca-Cola does fare better in Interbrand’s annual rankings—coming third last year, behind Google (2) and Apple (1). But Coke is unlikely to dominate those lists again, according to Melbourne Business School associate professor of marketing, branding consultant, and Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson.

He told Business Insider: ‘Coke will always be the leading brand of cola until the end of time. But the value of that cola category is set to plummet over the next 20 years. It’s no good being a big fish in an ever smaller pond. The days of Coke being the world’s biggest brand are over forever.’

And that’s down to nuanced drinking habits becoming more widespread, Ritson added: ‘Natural products, organic ingredients, incredibly fresh origin, local provenance—these were initially the watchwords of small groups of maven consumers, but this movement has become more and more pronounced in the developed world in recent years. And it will only get stronger in the years to come. The very success and former dominance of Coca-Cola during the 20th century blinded them to the very different market conditions that the 21st century ushered in and left them suddenly vulnerable to change.’

The Move to Master the Brand

Coke’s move across Europe to advertise its entire range, rather than each brand separately, has some clear advantages: It eases confusion around its ever-increasing portfolio of brand extensions; it shifts focus away from its unhealthier products to low or no calorie variants; and it has the potential to cut costs.

Coca-Cola tells us that the move is not about cutting marketing investment (on the contrary, it plans to increase investment in the Coca-Cola trademark in Great Britain, for example), but there will no doubt be savings in areas where there are now crossovers.

We asked what would happen to the brand managers and marketing managers who worked on specific brands like Diet Coke or Coke Zero. A Coca-Cola spokeswoman told us that the company is going through a global reorganization that will affect 1,600 to 1,800 roles across corporate, Coca-Cola North America, and Coca-Cola International—but it’s too soon to say how many roles will be impacted in Europe.

The move to the master brand approach could well be adopted in North America and other global markets too. The result of its recent ad agency pitch will likely see the end of the brand’s six-year ‘Open Happiness’ activity and a push into a new creative direction for the flagship red Coca-Cola brand.

In a statement the company said: ‘We have invited a selection of our key agencies from around the world to bring their best thinking to Coca-Cola in order to create the strongest work for our flagship brand. We are always pushing ourselves and our agencies to deliver world class creative with global appeal that engages and entertains our consumers and drives business growth. This process will help us harness thinking from some of the best agency minds from around the world to deliver the best possible work.’

Elspeth Cheung, global BrandZ valuation director, told Business Insider that Coca-Cola’s recent campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its famous contoured bottle, setting up retro-themed pop-up shops in major cities, and a wider advertising push ‘starring’ icons like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe shows the power of the master brand still exists today.

Cheung said: ‘There are few other brands that could challenge Coke by matching this, and this is all due to the historical cultivation of the Coca-Cola master brand. If anything is going to revive the business, it will be this signature brand—which is the most recognized around the world.’

However, Cheung adds: ‘I would advise the brand owner not to concentrate on the cost saving advantage that the use of master brand will bring about. BrandZ research shows that brands in categories such as beer and cars which have shifted the focus to the operational advantages of global economies of scale have caused their brands to become less unique and distinctive.’

Jamal Benmiloud, a former vice president of marketing at Monster Energy (and former UK head of marketing at Red Bull), who is now the chief creative officer and founder of marketing agency EARN, thinks Coke has the power to change opinion not just by the way it communicates, but a different business approach.

‘I think they have the opportunity to be true to their values and do more in terms of giving back. It may create a negative reaction, but so what, it’s about doing the right thing. Coca-Cola should be the most entertaining, anticipated brand in the world, and they should also be loved in the same way someone like Princess Diana was loved by committing to causes and making the difference. They have the power to do amazing things on planet earth,’ Benmiloud said.

A great example of this is Coke’s project in partnership with other charities to lend its vast distribution and logistics network to help deliver essential medicines to remote African villages. ‘You need to give to get love, and we need to see more giving of love,’ Benmiloud, who co-authored the recently published book ‘Brand Love: How to Build a Brand Worth Talking About’, added, saying Coke has the ability to fund more such initiatives.

One of the things that has characterized Muhtar Kent’s reign at the top of Coca-Cola is his long-term outlook for the company. In 2010 he outlined the company’s ‘2020 Vision’, built around six socio-economic trends that it hopes will help it double revenue by 2020. Other strategies are also given long-term completion dates, like its ambition to get 1 million people more physically active in Great Britain by 2020.

Benmiloud comments: ‘One thing about Coke that really impresses me is how long in the game they are, they really think long-term. They may be having a difficult time right now, but it has a plan for five, 15, 20 years on how to grow as a company … I think Coke’s at a certain point in its history and we’ll see what it does in the next five years, and what it does to embrace people and its partners to get there.’

Diversification will also be key if Coke is to adapt to ever-changing consumer consumption trends, and the company is already making in-roads in that area. Earlier this year it launched a premium milk called Fair life in the US, for example, and last year Coca-Cola paid $2.15 billion for a 16.7% stake in Monster Energy to help expand its reach in the energy drinks market. And in 2013 Coke increased its stake in Innocent Drinks to almost 100% in a bid to grow its share of the European smoothie and juices market.

But Coke still has work to do, according to Ritson: ‘PepsiCo is in a much stronger position versus Coca-Cola because it derives less than half its global profits from soda beverages, compared to 75% of revenues at Coca-Cola. That screams out an obvious and urgent fix. Coca-Cola needs to maintain Coke sales as much as possible and manage the decline as well as they can while urgently looking to diversify and acquire new brands that are fit for the 21st century.’

The Coke era as we know it is probably over. But a new, more diverse era for Coke is just beginning.

Case Questions

Do you think Coca-Cola will surpass the scandals around the world like it did in the past?

Do some extra research; do you think all the news and rumours are true?

What do you think about Coca-Cola’s ethics?

Do you think social media is a key factor for the Coca-Cola sales sinking?

What do you think about Coca-Cola 2020 strategy? Do you think it will be enough to rescue the brand from the low sales?

What’s your opinion about Pepsi scaling position when Coca-Cola is losing market share?

Do you think the megatrend on health concerns will affect Pepsi and Coca-Cola in a long term?

Suggest a product and marketing communication strategy for improving the image of the company and its products.

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Insights from Coca Cola Crisis Management Case Study

Have you ever wondered how a global giant like Coca Cola manages to navigate through a crisis? 

Picture this: one of the most beloved beverage brands in the world, facing a crisis that threatens its reputation and consumer trust. 

What would you do if you were in their shoes? 

In this Coca Cola crisis management case study, we delve into the fascinating world of Coca Cola’s crisis management strategies. 

Join us as we unravel the gripping tale of how this iconic company tackled a major crisis head-on, learning valuable lessons along the way. 

Get ready to discover the power of effective crisis management and the role it plays in safeguarding a brand’s legacy.

Brief history of Coca Cola and brand reputation and market share 

Coca Cola, the world’s most recognizable beverage brand, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back over a century. It all began in 1886 when pharmacist John Pemberton created a unique syrup and mixed it with carbonated water, giving birth to the iconic Coca Cola drink.

From its humble beginnings as a soda fountain beverage, Coca Cola quickly gained popularity and expanded its presence across the United States.

As the brand grew, it ventured into international markets, establishing its first international bottling plants in the early 1900s. Today, Coca Cola is a truly global company with a remarkable presence in over 200 countries, offering a diverse portfolio of beverages beyond its flagship cola, including juices, teas, sports drinks, and more.

The brand’s global reach and market penetration have made it an integral part of people’s lives, transcending cultural boundaries and becoming a symbol of refreshment worldwide.

Coca Cola’s brand reputation is synonymous with excellence and innovation. Over the years, the company has nurtured a strong brand identity built on trust, quality, and a commitment to delivering refreshing beverages to consumers.

The distinctive red and white logo is instantly recognizable, evoking feelings of nostalgia and joy.

With its relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, Coca Cola has successfully captured a significant portion of the global beverage market. Despite fierce competition, the brand has maintained a dominant position, consistently ranking among the top beverage companies in terms of market share.

Coca Cola’s ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences , introduce new products, and leverage its brand equity has solidified its position as a leader in the industry.

However, even the strongest brands are not immune to crises, as we shall explore in the following sections.

Description of the Crisis Incident

In the annals of Coca Cola’s history, there have been instances where the brand faced significant crises that posed immense challenges to its reputation. One notable crisis involved allegations of product contamination, which sent shockwaves through the company and its consumers.

Imagine the scene: rumors started circulating that certain batches of Coca Cola products were contaminated, raising concerns about the safety and quality of the beloved beverage.

The news spread rapidly, fueled by social media and sensationalized media coverage, creating a sense of fear and uncertainty among consumers.

As the crisis unfolded, consumers expressed worries about potential health risks associated with consuming Coca Cola products. Speculations and negative narratives further fueled the crisis, amplifying the impact and posing a threat to the brand’s credibility and customer trust.

For Coca Cola, the crisis was a critical moment that demanded swift and effective action. The company faced the daunting task of managing the situation, addressing the concerns of its stakeholders, and restoring faith in its products. How did Coca Cola navigate through this tumultuous period? Let’s delve into their crisis management strategies and discover how they triumphed in the face of adversity.

Media coverage and public reaction

The crisis surrounding Coca Cola triggered a flurry of media coverage, with news outlets and social media platforms buzzing with discussions, speculations, and varying viewpoints. The sensational nature of the allegations and the widespread popularity of the brand ensured that the crisis garnered significant attention from the public and the media.

News reports, both traditional and digital, dissected the crisis, amplifying the concerns raised by consumers and shedding light on the potential consequences. Social media platforms became the breeding ground for discussions, where users expressed their opinions, shared experiences, and voiced their worries about the safety of Coca Cola products.

The intensity of the media coverage and public reaction put immense pressure on Coca Cola to address the crisis promptly and transparently. The company found itself navigating a landscape where every move was under scrutiny, and its response would shape public perception and future consumer behavior.

Initial response by Coca Cola

When confronted with the crisis, Coca Cola swiftly mobilized its crisis management team to address the situation head-on. Recognizing the importance of immediate action, the company adopted a proactive approach to manage the crisis and mitigate potential damage to its brand reputation.

Coca Cola’s initial response focused on three key pillars: transparency, accountability, and communication. The company acknowledged the concerns raised by consumers and the media, demonstrating a commitment to address the crisis with utmost seriousness.

First and foremost, Coca Cola conducted a thorough investigation into the alleged product contamination, leaving no stone unturned to uncover the truth. This transparent approach aimed to regain consumer trust by ensuring that the safety and quality of their products were of paramount importance.

Simultaneously, Coca Cola took accountability for any shortcomings or mistakes that may have contributed to the crisis. The company issued public statements expressing genuine regret for the distress caused to consumers and reassured them of their commitment to resolving the issue promptly and effectively.

Immediate actions taken by Coca Cola to address the crisis

In the face of the crisis, Coca Cola implemented a series of immediate actions to address the situation and regain consumer confidence. These actions were aimed at ensuring the safety and quality of their products, as well as effectively managing the crisis at hand.

Product Recall and Investigation

As a responsible measure, Coca Cola initiated a comprehensive product recall of the affected batches in collaboration with regulatory agencies. This demonstrated their commitment to consumer safety and allowed for a thorough investigation into the alleged contamination.

Enhanced Quality Assurance Procedures

Coca Cola implemented rigorous quality assurance procedures to prevent future incidents and maintain the highest standards of product safety. They reviewed and strengthened their manufacturing and packaging processes, as well as enhanced monitoring and testing protocols.

Collaboration with Regulatory Bodies

Recognizing the importance of regulatory compliance, Coca Cola collaborated closely with relevant regulatory bodies throughout the crisis. They provided full cooperation, shared information, and adhered to the recommendations and guidelines set forth by these authorities.

Communication strategies employed 

Effective communication is crucial during a crisis, and Coca Cola employed various strategies to ensure transparent and consistent messaging to stakeholders. These communication strategies aimed to address concerns, provide accurate information, and rebuild trust in the brand.

Press Releases

Coca Cola utilized press releases as a primary means of communicating official statements and updates regarding the crisis. These press releases were disseminated to the media and made available to the public, ensuring timely and accurate information about the steps being taken to address the situation.

Social Media Engagement

Recognizing the power of social media in shaping public perception, Coca Cola actively engaged with consumers through social media platforms. They responded to queries, addressed concerns, and provided updates on the progress of the investigation. This direct engagement helped to establish a sense of transparency and responsiveness.

Website Updates

Coca Cola dedicated a section on their official website to address the crisis and provide comprehensive information to concerned consumers. This platform served as a central hub for sharing details about the investigation, product recalls, and ongoing efforts to resolve the crisis.

Stakeholder Communication

Coca Cola prioritized communication with its stakeholders, including distributors, retailers, and business partners. They provided regular updates to these stakeholders, addressing any potential impact the crisis might have on their operations and assuring them of the measures being taken to rectify the situation.

Spokesperson Representation

Coca Cola designated trusted and credible spokespersons to represent the company and communicate with the media. These individuals were well-versed in the crisis details and effectively conveyed the brand’s commitment to consumer safety and resolution.

The role of company leadership in crisis management

During a crisis, strong and effective leadership is crucial in guiding the organization through the challenges and ensuring a successful resolution. In the case of Coca Cola, company leadership played a vital role in crisis management, demonstrating their commitment, decisiveness, and ability to navigate through adversity.

Strategic Decision-Making

The leadership at Coca Cola spearheaded the strategic decision-making process during the crisis. They analyzed the situation, gathered information, and collaborated with experts to make informed choices that would best address the crisis and safeguard the brand’s reputation. Their ability to make tough decisions quickly and effectively guided the crisis management efforts.

Communication and Transparency

Company leadership took the responsibility of communicating with stakeholders, including employees, consumers, distributors, and regulatory bodies. They ensured that the messaging was transparent, consistent, and aligned with the company’s values. By openly addressing concerns, admitting any mistakes, and providing regular updates, leadership fostered trust and credibility during the crisis.

Team Mobilization and Empowerment

Effective crisis management requires the mobilization and empowerment of cross-functional teams within the organization. Coca Cola’s leadership ensured that the crisis management team had the necessary resources, support, and authority to address the crisis effectively. They encouraged collaboration, innovation, and open communication within the teams to expedite the resolution process.

Continuous Learning and Improvement

In the aftermath of the crisis, company leadership played a crucial role in fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement. They conducted thorough evaluations of the crisis management process, identified lessons learned, and implemented measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. Their commitment to learning from the crisis helped enhance the company’s resilience and preparedness for potential future challenges.

05 lessons learned from coca cola crisis management 

These lessons learned from Coca Cola’s crisis management case study serve as valuable insights for other organizations facing similar challenges.

Let’s discuss each of these lessons learned:

Swift and Transparent Communication

The crisis taught Coca Cola the importance of immediate and transparent communication. By promptly addressing concerns, providing accurate information, and engaging with stakeholders openly, the company was able to regain trust and control the narrative surrounding the crisis.

Collaboration with Regulatory Bodies and Experts

Coca Cola’s collaboration with regulatory bodies and external experts proved vital in validating their actions and ensuring compliance with industry standards. This collaboration enhanced the credibility of the company’s crisis management efforts and helped regain confidence in their products.

Proactive Approach to Crisis Resolution

Coca Cola’s proactive response to the crisis demonstrated the significance of taking ownership and accountability for the situation. By swiftly initiating product recalls, conducting investigations, and implementing enhanced quality assurance procedures, the company showed a commitment to consumer safety and resolution.

The crisis served as a catalyst for continuous learning and improvement within Coca Cola. The company evaluated the crisis management process, identified areas for improvement, and implemented measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. This commitment to learning from the crisis enhanced their resilience and preparedness.

Importance of Leadership

Strong leadership played a critical role in guiding Coca Cola through the crisis. The ability to make strategic decisions, communicate effectively, and empower teams was instrumental in navigating through the challenges and restoring consumer trust. The crisis highlighted the importance of having capable leaders who can steer the organization through turbulent times.

Final words 

Coca Cola crisis management case study provides us with valuable insights and lessons that can be applied to various organizations facing similar challenges. The company’s response to the crisis surrounding alleged product contamination showcased the importance of swift and transparent communication, collaboration with regulatory bodies and experts, taking a proactive approach to resolution, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and demonstrating strong leadership.

The Coca Cola crisis management case study serves as a reminder that crisis management is not just about resolving immediate issues but also about building trust, maintaining open communication, and continuously improving processes. By incorporating these lessons, organizations can transform crises into opportunities for growth and demonstrate their ability to weather storms and emerge even stronger.

About The Author

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Tahir Abbas

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How Coca-Cola became one of the most successful brands in history

Table of contents.

Coca-Cola has an impressive track record of innovation which has helped propel the company to become one of the most successful brands in history. Through skillful advertising efforts, Coca-Cola is widely recognized as a symbol of American culture through its influence on politics, pop culture, and music around the globe.  

Key statistics and facts about The Coca-Cola Company: 

  • Owns 43.7% of the US carbonated soft drinks market
  • Net operating revenue of $38.7B
  • Present in more than 200 countries and territories
  • Employs over over 700,000 along with its bottling partners
  • Ranked #93 in the Fortune 500
  • Μarket value of $259.77 billion as of February 2023 

Who owns Coca-Cola?

There is no sole owner of Coca-Cola as it is a publicly listed company. However, the largest shareholder is Warren Buffett. Read on as we dive into the history of Coca-Cola's owners and much more below!


The history of The Coca-Cola Company

How it all started.

The story of The Coca-Cola Company had humble beginnings in the late 1800s, in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. John Pemberton, a local pharmacist, had developed a recipe for a sweet syrup that was originally advertised to cure headaches. It was eventually mixed with carbonated water to create a fizzy drink that was served at a soda fountain in Jacobs’ Pharmacy. The first glass of Coca-Cola was served on May 8, 1886. In the first year, Pemberton served approximately nine drinks per day which were sold for 5 cents a glass. 

While the ingredient list today is a highly guarded secret, it is well known that the original version contained extracts from the Coca leaf and Kola nuts for caffeine. The combination of these two ingredients is where the name comes from. Dr. Pemberton’s partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, felt that spelling the name with double “C’s” would look better in advertising. So, he scripted out the logo which even today displays Mr. Robinson’s unique handwriting. 

Dr. Pemberton didn’t realize the potential of his new product. He took on several partners and sold portions of his business to various owners. Sadly, Dr. Pemberton died just two years after the creation of Coca-Cola. Prior to his death, he sold his remaining interests to an Atlanta businessman, Asa Griggs Candler. Candler knew there was something special about this new product, but little did he know that his $2,300 investment (roughly $67,000 today) would be the start of one of the most powerful brands on the planet. 

Birth of The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company was officially founded by Asa Candler in 1892. It didn’t take long for the Coca-Cola product to quickly spread outside of Georgia and across the nation. By 1895, Coca-Cola was being sold in every state of the union. In 1919, the company was sold to Ernest Woodruff. Woodruff's sons would continue to run the company for many years, transforming the company into a major international brand. The Coca-Cola Company was officially listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1919 under the ticker symbol KO. 

International expansion of The Coca-Cola Company

The first export of Coca-Cola was to Cuba in 1899. It wasn’t until the 1920s, that international expansion of the brand began to take off. During World War II, Coca-Cola’s President, Robert Woodruff, wanted to ensure that US service members stationed all over could have the comforts of home and pledged to transport Coca-Cola to the various bases in the European and Pacific theatres on the company’s dime. This introduction of the Coca-Cola product increased international demand. With people all over the world craving a taste of American culture, Coca-Cola began establishing partnerships with bottling companies and distributors all over the world. Today, the brand operates in more than 200 countries and territories. 

Early competition

In the early years, Coca-Cola had a lot of competition. In fact, the late 1800s and early 1900s was the most active period in the development of new soft drinks. Some of these companies went out of business or were bought out by other larger companies. However, many of these brands are still in existence today as more novelty brands and hold a very small percentage of the market. 

The most prominent competitors to Coca-Cola throughout its history have been Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. They were both created around the same time as Coca-Cola (Pepsi in 1898 and Dr. Pepper in 1885). Over time, these three giants bought up many of the smaller beverage companies. For example, Vernor’s Ginger Ale, Hires Root Beer, and Royal Crown Cola still exist but are now owned by Dr. Pepper. 

The Coca-Cola beverage was created in 1886 by Dr. John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Atlanta, Georgia. The recipe was purchased by Asa Griggs Candler and The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. The brand quickly became popular and was sold all over the United States. By the early 20th century, Coca-Cola began a rapid expansion across the globe.

The Coca-Cola system- a global franchise distribution network 

The Coca-Cola Company’s rapid expansion around the world can be attributed to its unique franchise distribution system (known as the Coca-Cola System ) that they have operated since 1889. Coca-Cola produces syrup concentrate which is then sold to various bottlers around the world. This helps the company maintain control over its top-secret recipe without the burden of having to run many of the independent bottling facilities. 

The Coca-Cola System is a network of over 900 bottling plants that produce 2 billion servings of Coca-Cola every day. The bottlers each hold contracts that allow them to exclusively operate in a predetermined territory. This reduces the need for the competition from multiple companies that sell the same product. 

These distributors handle all aspects of the production and distribution process including mixing the syrup with carbonated water and sweeteners, placing the finished product in cans or bottles, and distributing Coca-Cola to supermarkets, vending machines, restaurants, and movie theaters. Although Coca-Cola produces the main syrup, the franchise companies also control the soda fountain business in their territory. 

The exception to this model is the North American market where The Coca-Cola Company directly owns most of the bottling and distribution. Outside of the United States, Coca-Cola has continued to encourage the consolidation of its various bottling companies. Over time, Coca-Cola has acquired a percentage of ownership in many of the companies in the Coca-Cola System. 

Top 5 independent bottling partners, representing 40 percent of the Coca-Cola System distribution network:

  • Coca-Cola FEMSA (Latin America)
  • Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, plc (Western Europe, Australia, Pacific, and Indonesia)
  • Coca-Cola HBC AG (Eastern Europe)
  • Arca Continental (Latin America and North America)
  • Swire Beverages (Asia and parts of North America)

Here's an example video from Coca-Cola HBC AG explaining their business model:

The Coca-Cola Company leverages a network of independently owned and operated bottlers around the world. This has enabled the company to quickly expand without having to invest billions of dollars into building facilities and navigating international rules and regulations unique to each region.

Evolution of the Coca-Cola product

The formula for Coca-Cola has undergone a few changes since its creation. Some of these changes were driven by necessity. Some were an attempt to reduce costs or gain market share. While the brand does not make changes often, some have been better received than others. 

Removal of cocaine

During the late 19th century, there were many Cocoa-based beverages available on the market. At the time, drugs like cocaine and opium were perfectly legal and used quite frequently for medicinal purposes. Since Coca leaves were used to make Coca-Cola, there were small quantities of cocaine that could be found in the drink. 

The public eventually became aware of the addictive properties of these substances, so Coca-Cola was pressured to remove this drug from its list of ingredients. The Coca-Cola Company made steps to gradually phase out sources of cocaine from its production until it was finally eliminated in 1929.

File:New Coke can.jpg

On April 23, 1985, The Coca-Cola Company took a huge risk that shocked the world. They announced that they would be changing the formula of their world-famous soft drink. Despite its massive success, the company had been losing ground to one of its main competitors, Pepsi. Pepsi’s success wasn’t just in the United States. They were quickly expanding into markets that were once considered untouchable. At the height of the Cold War, Pepsi became the first Western product to be permitted in the Soviet Union . 

Based on surveys and taste tests, consumers seemed to prefer the sweeter taste of Pepsi-Cola. So, Coca-Cola set out to rework the formula to improve its ability to compete. According to Coca-Cola’s website, their goal was to “re-energize the Coca-Cola brand and the cola category in its largest market, the United States”. After receiving positive feedback from nearly 200k customers in taste tests, New Coke was released to the market. 

The public’s response to the new version of their product was outrage. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola miscalculated its customer’s bond with the original brand. Massive protests were staged and the company was flooded with thousands of angry phone calls and letters. The backlash was so fierce that it forced the company to revert back to the old formula after only 79 days on the market, branded as Coca-Cola classic. 

This graph demonstrates PepsiCo’s rapid expansion of market share from 1970 to 1990 and subsequent fall.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

File:Coca Cola Zero 02.jpg

While Coca-Cola has vowed not to make any changes to its original product, the company plans to update the recipe and packaging for their popular zero sugar variation, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar . The company has been cautious in its promotion of the new version as to not create a blowback like the 1985 New Coke fiasco. Coca-Cola has reiterated that the new version will not be a major overhaul, rather an “optimization of flavors and existing ingredients”. The rollout is expected to hit the US market by August 2021.

Sweetener changed to high fructose corn syrup

Traditionally, the Coca-Cola recipe called for cane sugar as the primary sweetener. During the 1970s, the United States saw a massive increase in corn production. This forced the prices of corn to drop significantly. In addition, corn was heavily subsidized by the US government. This made sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup more affordable. 

In an attempt to reduce costs, Coca-Cola slowly started substituting cane sugar for high fructose corn syrup during the 1980s. The transition took place over the course of approximately 5 years. 

Today, cane sugar is still used in the production of Coca-Cola in certain regions of the world. The most popular example is Coca-Cola produced in Mexico. This version of Coca-Cola is still made with cane sugar. Some critics argue that “Mexican Coke” has a flavor that is closer to the original formula.

In 1935, Coca-Cola was certified as kosher after the company replaced the source of glycerin used in production . This was originally derived from beef tallow but was replaced with a plant-based version. However, with the change of sweetener in the 1980s to high fructose corn syrup, its kosher status was removed. Today, bottlers in markets with large Jewish populations will temporarily substitute high fructose corn syrup during Passover to obtain Kosher certification.

Recipe and flavor variations

Despite the utter failure of New Coke in 1985, The Coca-Cola Company has introduced new flavors over time in addition to Coca-Cola classic. 

Some consumers avoided Coca-Cola classic because of the high sugar or caffeine content. In 1982, the company released a diet version of their product for consumers who were concerned about consuming too much sugar. A caffeine-free version was also introduced a year later. 

The company has also tried different flavor combinations. The first was Coca-Cola Cherry in 1985 which was a huge success and remains popular today. Other flavors included lemon, lime, vanilla, orange, ginger, cinnamon, and coffee. Many of these were attempts to bring local flavors to international markets. 

Coca-Cola has achieved enormous amounts of growth by tailoring its products to local tastes and demands. They have also been able to reduce production costs by substituting expensive ingredients such as cane sugar for lower-cost alternatives. Not every change has been well received by the public. Coca-Cola infamously changed their original recipe to replace it with “New Coke”. This change faced fierce backlash and forced the company to bring back the original product after only 79 days on the market. 

Coca-Cola Growth Strategy

The company has outlined a list of key objectives that they plan to execute in the coming years to spur additional growth. This strategic plan is intended to guide the company in refocusing efforts and being more intentional with its actions.  

Focus on developing markets

Coca-Cola has identified that there is huge growth potential in the developing world. Seventy percent of all beverages being consumed in the developed world are commercialized compared to only 30 percent for the developing world. Considering the developing world contains 80 percent of the world's population, growth is expected to be exponentially higher. 

One identified area of opportunity is brand diversification. While Coca-Cola has a strong foothold globally, this is only due to its strong presence in major markets. Outside of sparkling water, Coca-Cola is trailing competitors. The focus will be on gaining momentum in other beverage categories through the experimentation of new products. 

Brand portfolio optimization

Bigger isn’t always better. The Coca-Cola Company is realizing that its efforts may be spread across too many individual brands. Their goal is to rebalance their portfolio and consolidate products into fewer master brands. They have already reduced this number from approximately 400 to 200. By having fewer master brands, they can better focus their efforts. 

Networked organization

Operating a large corporation comes with challenges. In many cases, there can be inefficiencies and duplicated efforts. Coca-Cola plans to address this by reorganizing its support and operational teams to provide better support and work more effectively. 

Brand building

The company plans to deliver world-class marketing through targeted resource allocation. The goal is to be more intentional with the way advertising and marketing investments are made. 

Coca-Cola has a goal to increase the frequency that new or existing consumers drink their products. To do this, the company has set targets to significantly increase innovation by bringing more trial products and projects into the pipeline. The goal is to increase this by 40 percent over 2020. 

Digital transformation

Coca-Cola understands that data is a powerful tool. They are in the process of undergoing a digital transformation to help the company operate more effectively and leverage data to drive decision-making. 

Revenue growth management

With this new data and digital tools available, the company can place a renewed focus on which areas have the most potential for growth. They will focus on understanding which markets, consumers, product lines, and competitors should be addressed.

The Coca-Cola Company is dedicated to growing the business through a skillfully designed and executed strategic plan. Their long-term goals are to focus on expanding the commercial beverage industry in developing countries. They also plan to optimize their product line by reducing the number of master brands, creating new innovative products, changing their internal operations teams to streamline processes, and better leverage data.

The power of advertising- Coca-Cola becomes a household name

A big part of Coca-Cola’s success over the years has been its focus on innovative marketing and advertising campaigns. In 2020, Coca-Cola was ranked as the 6th most powerful brand in the world. This accomplishment didn’t come overnight. Over the years, Coca-Cola has had to work diligently to evolve and bring fresh, new ideas to marketing and advertising.

Large contributions to advertising 

Even early on, Asa Griggs Candler spent a considerable amount of money on advertising. His original budget for advertising was $11,000 (over $300,000 in today’s money). By 1900, the budget increased ten-fold to $100,000 and again to $1 million by 1910. 

Large advertising budgets are important when a new brand is getting established. As a company grows and becomes well-known, they typically scale back on their advertising budget since most consumers recognize the brand. Coca-Cola, however, has continued to keep the pressure on its competitors. Today, the company spends about 10 percent of its revenue on advertising and marketing. This equates to approximately $4 billion in commercials, print advertising, sponsorships, and other promotional merchandise. 

Focus on the brand and human connection

Much of Coca-Cola’s advertising success comes from the way they present their brand. Instead of focusing on the actual product, they emphasize the feeling and camaraderie of making the brand part of one’s identity. Their advertisements are intended to make people feel good about themselves and want to be a part of the experience. 

Human connection is an important part of the brand message. One great example of this was the “Hilltop” commercial from 1971 that featured people from different cultures singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke”. This showed the Coca-Cola brand as one that was intended to unite people around the world.

Celebrity endorsements

Celebrity endorsement is a way to help a brand stand out, especially when targeting specific groups. For example, sports fans will be more likely to purchase a product if their favorite athlete promotes the brand. Over the years, Coca-Cola has been endorsed by numerous high-profile celebrities, athletes, and pop culture icons. 

Hilda Clark, an American model, and actress was the first celebrity to endorse the brand in 1900 and was featured in early advertisements. Since then, Coca-Cola has received endorsements from many big-name celebrities such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Magic Johnson, and Elvis Presley. 

Coca-Cola in pop culture

The Coca-Cola brand has been a prominent part of American culture for decades. Coca-Cola has skillfully attached itself to key historical events, music, movies, and major holidays. 

Coca-Cola and many of its other brands have been featured in numerous films and television programs. For a short time, Coca-Cola even owned Columbia Pictures (from 1982 to 1989) and inserted Coke products into many of its productions.  A few examples include:

  •  The 1933 film King Kong displays a Times Square billboard advertisement in several of the scenes.
  • Coca-Cola products being used in the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
  • The modern TV series Stranger Things which takes place in the 1980s displays and makes reference to New Coke. 

The Coca-Cola Company has also made its way into music across the globe. Elvis Presley promoted Coca-Cola during his last tour in 1977. The UK sensation, The Beatles, made mention of Coca-Cola in a line of their hit song “Come Together”. In addition to lyrical references, the brand has featured musical superstars such as David Bowie, Elton John, and Whitney Houston in Diet Coke commercials. 

The Coca-Cola brand has also cleverly attached itself to popular holidays. Some of its most successful campaigns have been displayed over the Christmas holiday. One of the most iconic campaigns started in 1931 with illustrations of St. Nicholas drinking a Coca-Cola. Many credit Coca-Cola with inspiring the modern-day version of Santa Clause. 

Clever campaigns and promotions

Coca-Cola has been one of the top innovators in the advertising space. On many occasions, they have used never before seen tactics that both surprised and delighted consumers. Creating an additional buzz around their advertising campaigns helps to amplify whom the campaign reaches directly. 

During the 2012 NFL Superbowl, Coca-Cola decided to take a non-traditional approach. The Superbowl is one of the most sought-after advertising opportunities. Each year, approximately 95 million people tune in to watch the championship game. Typically, major brands spend over $5 million for a single 30-second commercial. With the rise of cell phones and other mobile devices, Coca-Cola knew that consumers would be juggling multiple devices during the game. So, they created a family of animated polar bears that would react to the game in real-time on digital media banners and a microsite. The bears would laugh, respond to audience tweets, and make faces. The campaign was a huge success. During the game, over 9 million viewers spent an average of 28 minutes engaging with and watching the polar bears in action. 

In 2011, Coca-Cola decided to take a personalized approach to advertise in Australia with their Share a Coke campaign. They selected 150 of the most popular names and printed them on the side of their bottles along with the message “Share a Coke with…”. The campaign encouraged people to share a bottle of Coke with a friend or tag them in a social media post with the hashtag #shareacoke. The campaign was so successful that it was expanded to over 80 countries and led to Coca-Cola’s first sales growth in over 10 years. 

Collectible memorabilia 

Coca-Cola has created and distributed numerous pieces of branded memorabilia that are highly sought after by collectors including toys, clothing, antique bottles, signs, household items, and old vending machines. The collectible nature of these products has nostalgia of traditional Americana and has further helped to amply the prestige and cultural connection of Coca-Cola to US history. Rare and well-preserved items can fetch tens of thousands of dollars. 

The Coca-Cola Company has created one of the most powerful and well-known brands in the world. Over the years, they have embedded themselves as an icon of American culture through music, television, and films. The company spends a significant portion of its annual revenue on advertising efforts including television commercials, social media, and other advertising. 

Growth through mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships- becoming an unstoppable force in the food and beverage industry

While The Coca-Cola Company is known for its main products such as Coca-Cola and Diet Coke, the company owns, produces, and distributes over 500 individual brands worldwide. Some of these brands are a result of new products that they created. Others were obtained through mergers, acquisitions, and special partnerships with other major companies. 

Key mergers and acquisitions

  • 1960 - Coca-Cola acquires Minute Maid, a producer of juices, soft drinks, and other beverages such as the popular Hi-C brand. 
  • 1993 - When Coca-Cola was struggling to gain a foothold in the Indian market, they purchased the popular local brand, Thums Up. Their business now makes up over 40 percent of the cola business in India. 
  • 1995 - Acquisition of Barq’s which produces a line of root beers and cream sodas. 
  • 1999 - Coca-Cola purchased 50 percent of Inca Kola for $200 million and took control of its marketing and bottling operations. 
  • 2001 - Odwalla, a brand of fruit juices, smoothies, and bars was acquired. This company was discontinued in 2020.
  • 2007 - Coca-Cola acquired Fuze Beverage, a producer of teas and fruit drinks that were infused with vitamins and minerals. 
  • 2008 - The company purchased 40 percent of Honest Tea, a popular iced tea producer. The remaining shares were purchased in 2011 giving Coca-Cola full ownership. 
  • 2013 - Coca-Cola purchased the coconut water company ZICO. 
  • 2014 - 16.7 percent of the energy drink manufacturer, Monster Beverage, was sold to Coca-Cola in exchange for a long-term strategic partnership. 
  • 2016 - Coca-Cola purchased a portion of Chi Limited, a major distributor of snacks, food, and beverage products in Nigeria. The remaining shares were acquired in 2019.
  • 2017 - Topo Chico, a Mexican sparkling water brand was acquired by Coca-Cola. 
  • 2018 - Coca-Cola purchased Costa Coffee making it the owner of the second-largest coffeehouse chain in the world after Starbucks Coffee. 
  • 2018 - Organic & Raw Trading Co., the Australian producer of MOJO kombucha was acquired. 

Special partnerships

In addition to owning many brands, The Coca-Cola Company has created many successful strategic partnerships that have allowed Coca-Cola to grow exponentially. 

One of the most famous partnerships is with McDonald’s. When McDonald’s was just getting started in 1955, it needed a beverage distributor. The two companies struck a deal for Mcdonald's to exclusively sell only Coca-Cola products. McDonald’s eventually grew to become the largest restaurant chain (by revenue) and Coca-Cola products are served in nearly 40,000 of their locations around the world. Other notable restaurant chains that carry Coca-Cola products include Burger King, Chili’s, Chipotle, and Domino’s Pizza.

coca cola failure case study

Coca-Cola has also partnered with numerous venues around the world to sell only Coca-Cola products in their stadiums, theatres, and concert halls. The Coca-Cola Company is a major sponsor of the Olympic Games. In 2017, the company signed a deal with Major League Baseball in which they agreed to drop their competitor Pepsi and only promote Coke products.

Most of Coca-Cola’s growth has come from strategic mergers and acquisitions of companies all over the world. They have been able to expand into new markets by buying companies that already dominate the specialty or space. The company has also developed strategic partnerships with other large companies to exclusively sell Coca-Cola products.

Controversy, regulatory issues, and criticism 

Despite the company’s overwhelming success, Coca-Cola has faced a lot of criticism throughout its history. There are many opinions related to the impacts that The Coca-Cola Company has on the environment and consumers alike. 

Health concerns

It’s no secret that Coca-Cola is a sugary drink. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), half of all Americans will drink at least one sugary beverage each day. This massive consumption of sugar is leading to an epidemic of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults consume no more than 6 tsp of sugar each day. A single 12oz can of Coca-Cola contains nearly twice this amount. 

With Coca-Cola being the leading company in the food and beverage industry, they have received a lot of negative attention directed towards their contribution to this serious problem. 

The company has responded by producing sugar-free or reduced-calorie beverages. They have also expanded their product lines to include healthy alternatives like coconut water. 

Environmental issues

Coca-Cola has been identified as the single producer of plastic waste in the world. Much of this plastic is not discarded properly and ends up in the oceans. This has contributed to the ecological disaster due to single-use plastics. This has captured the attention of environmental protection groups who claim that Coca-Cola isn’t doing enough to work toward a reasonable solution. A report from Greenpeace estimates that the company produces over 100 billion plastic bottles every year with no obvious goal to reduce single-use plastic waste. 

Coca-Cola has made some efforts to reduce its environmental impact. First, they redesigned their bottles to use less plastic (a process called “lightweighting”). While this does reduce the amount of plastic used in production, it does not reduce the number of bottles that end up in landfills or the ocean. They have also introduced their “PlantBottle” which is made from plant-based materials.

While these are steps in the right direction, most environmental groups question whether these efforts are enough. Coca-Cola appears to be spending large amounts of money lobbying politicians around the world to block legislation that would encourage more environmentally friendly manufacturing. They have also been accused of spending a considerable amount of money on “green marketing” without efforts to back up their claims.

Over the years, The Coca-Cola Company has been the center of controversy due to environmental impact and health concerns due to their products. Coca-Cola has responded by providing low-calorie, sugar-free, and healthy alternatives. They have also worked to reduce their plastic use and seek alternatives as they are the single largest contributor to single-use plastic waste.

Coca-Cola's social media strategy

Create an abstract image that symbolizes Coca-Cola's social media strategy. The composition should feature vibrant and positive imagery, including a globe to represent their global reach, interconnected nodes or networks conveying social media platforms, and smiling faces or thumbs-up icons to symbolize positivity and customer engagement. There should be a flow of creativity illustrated by dynamic and organic shapes, depicting the user-generated content aspect, such as floating Coca-Cola bottles with hashtags. Include subtle nods to social issues with symbolic ribbons or hands united, and incorporate elements that hint at Coca-Cola’s website traffic, like arrows pointing from social media icons to a central Coca-Cola logo, suggesting the flow of visitors. The overall design should feel optimistic, energetic, and interconnected, reflecting the brand's commitment to being a social media leader.

The Coca-Cola Company is a social media powerhouse with millions of followers across the globe. The company is very intentional with its use of social media platforms and leverages them to drive brand awareness and interaction with customers. There are several key components that have made Coca-Cola’s social media strategy so successful. 


In 2018, Coca-Cola made a commitment to become the ‘most optimistic brand on social media'. They launched their #RefreshtheFeed campaign in which they completely deleted all of their social media content and started fresh. Consumers embraced this new positive approach and encouraged even more followers who wanted to enjoy the feel-good vibes of their social media posts. 

Leverage consumers to create content

While Coca-Cola’s marketing team creates a lot of content for their online platforms, they have successfully leveraged their millions of followers to create content on behalf of the brand. They have used creative hashtag-based campaigns to encourage consumers to post Coca-Cola-themed posts for their friends and family to see. One of the most successful was the #shareacoke campaign which reversed a 10-year stagnant sales record. 

Attachment to social issues

The company has a stringent social media policy to ensure that content aligns with the company’s values. In July 2020, Coca-Cola decided to join many other major brands in temporarily halting social media posts and advertisements for a minimum of 30 days. This decision came as a result of concerns about growing hate speech and misinformation on social networks. They’ve regularly supported important civil rights and other social issues over the past few decades which helps consumer groups connect with the brand. 

Coca-Cola website

The Coca-Cola Company’s main company website contains various resources for consumers, vendors, and investors. The information included in the website discusses the company’s history, its brands around the world, career opportunities, media center, and investor relations. 

According to SimilarWeb, the site is ranked 10th in the Food & Beverage category and receives about 1.8 million visitors each month. 

The Coca-Cola Company’s YouTube channel is a platform that is used to post promotional videos and other advertisements from all over the world. The channel was started in 2006, has 3.6 million subscribers, and has nearly 3.5 billion views. About 8 percent of their website traffic comes from YouTube.

Coca-Cola’s LinkedIn account has over 6 million followers. The company uses this platform to post company updates for the business community. It is also used to promote job openings and attract top talent from the LinkedIn community. 

Twitter is one of Coca-Cola’s most powerful social media accounts. Their Twitter account ( @CocaCola ) was started in 2009 and has posted nearly 300,000 tweets to its 3.3 million followers. Most of the tweets are short inspirational or funny messages to enhance daily brand awareness or encourage engagement. Coca-Cola’s Twitter account generates 62 percent of the traffic to their website. 

Coca-Cola’s Instagram account has 2.8 million followers. The account is mostly used to post promotional stories on the platform. 

Coca-Cola’s Pinterest account is used to post drink and food recipes and promote Coca-Cola products like customizable Coke bottles. Their account has about 30,000 followers and receives over 10 million views each month. 

With over 105 million followers, Coca-Cola’s Facebook account is massive. It’s the 5th most-followed account on the social media platform, only behind Facebook itself, Samsung, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Real Madrid CF. The site is used to post videos and promotional content in many different languages for their followers. 

So, Why is Coca-Cola so Successful?

Few companies can boast the tremendous success and growth that The Coca-Cola Company has enjoyed for over 135 years. This accomplishment can be attributed to industry-leading advertising, innovation of their products, and delivering a positive brand message. Let's take a look at what makes Coca-Cola so successful!

Recap: growth by the numbers

Key takeaways.

  • Coca-Cola has leveraged a network of independent bottlers around the globe to aid in rapid expansion. These distributors have territorial rights which help prevent competition and price wars.
  • The Coca-Cola Company has made changes to its main product over the years but learned a very valuable lesson with the introduction of New Coke in 1985. The launch was a disaster and faced a fierce backlash from consumers who demanded the return of the original product.
  • Coca-Cola’s long-term strategic plan includes focusing on the developing world where consumer beverages have a lot of growth potential, optimizing the number of master brands, revamping their operational network, and leveraging technology and data.
  • Coca-Cola’s advertising focuses on creating human connections and making people feel good. They have led the advertising world in cutting-edge approaches to marketing that have never been seen before.
  • Coca-Cola has inserted its brand and products in films and television to become an easily identifiable American icon.
  • Acquisition of other companies has been a major part of Coca-Cola’s expansion efforts giving them the ability to quickly reach into new markets or acquire existing popular products.
  • The Coca-Cola company has been the target of criticism due to its potential negative impact on consumer health and the environment. 

Business Wire

DUBLIN--( BUSINESS WIRE )-- Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/876vmt/successes_and ) has announced the addition of the "Successes and Failures Case Study: Coca-Cola "Share a Coke" Campaign" company profile to their offering.

The Coca-Cola Share a Coke' Campaign is part of Datamonitor's Successes and Failures series. These case studies examine best-in-class examples of innovation and marketing, supported by Datamonitor's consumer insight research, to act as inspiration.

Effective innovation is difficult to come by, but it is the key to sustained competitive advantage in the consumer packaged goods industry. Lessons can be learned from both successes and failures. This case study looks at how Coca-Cola improved brand engagement with younger consumers by using its product as a vehicle to bring people together.Access comprehensive analysis of global successes and failures in the consumer packaged goods industry to drive ideation and inspiration.Obtain country-specific consumer insight to understand the consumer attitudes and needs that underpinned innovation success/failure.

Avoid costly investments by learning important lessons from companies and brands that have failed or under-delivered.Obtain a broader appreciation of the CPG industry by gaining insights from both within and outside of your category.Around 80% of new product innovation fails - highlighting the challenge that industry players face in innovating in today's competitive market landscape. Failed innovation can severely undermine profits and brand reputations. Conversely, the rewards for successful innovation are substantial.

Datamonitor is constantly monitoring the big winners and losers in the CPG industry. Each case contains background information, describes how developments unfolded, and is contextualized by Datamonitor's own research and analysis.This case looks at the example of Coca-Cola in Australia. Launching a range of personalized Coke cans encouraged consumers to reconnect with each other, via the brand.Why is Coca-Cola's Share a Coke' Campaign considered an interesting case of success?How does Datamonitor judge the success of the Campaign?What consumer insight has underpinned this?What can I learn from the success of the Share a Coke' Campaign?

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/876vmt/successes_and

Research and Markets Laura Wood, Senior Manager. [email protected] U.S. Fax: 646-607-1907 Fax (outside U.S.): +353-1-481-1716 Sector: Company Reports

coca cola failure case study

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International Conference on Business and Technology

ICBT 2020: The Importance of New Technologies and Entrepreneurship in Business Development: In The Context of Economic Diversity in Developing Countries pp 551–570 Cite as

The Brand Impact on Culture: Case of Coca Cola Cultural Issues in India

  • Asaad Ali Karam 12 , 13  
  • Conference paper
  • First Online: 13 March 2021

2433 Accesses

2 Citations

Part of the Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems book series (LNNS,volume 194)

The study purpose was culture assumes a pivotal role in brand and relying on underlying cultural philosophies. The Indian culture differences impacts on Coca-Cola brand; culture affects other brands very strongly. Productive brands have been able to adopt this dominant cultural paradigm. The measurements are based on the quantitative methods with criteria that were framed by culture and brand factors through customer perceived value to find out Coca-Cola’s brand cultural issues, the SmartPLS analysis was generated to study conceptual framework that was conducted restricting samples size of (N = 500). The study found that the culture and brand factors were effects on customer perceived value which was explained by (R 2 Adj. = 78.5%), While, the whole model was effective by Coca-Cola cultural issues with (R 2 Adj. = 80.9%). Further, culture has a significant effect on firm performance. Results of examination help companies to realize the significance of brand culture and product identity on the target market. The originality of this paper gives clear observations into the integration and combining of cultural fibers that make the brand prosper in the target market. It also clearly shows that several brands were successfully integrating and combining Indian culture in the market.

  • Cultural issues
  • Culture values
  • Brand equity
  • Brand reputation
  • Brand loyalty
  • Customer perceived value

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Karam, A.A. (2021). The Brand Impact on Culture: Case of Coca Cola Cultural Issues in India. In: Alareeni, B., Hamdan, A., Elgedawy, I. (eds) The Importance of New Technologies and Entrepreneurship in Business Development: In The Context of Economic Diversity in Developing Countries. ICBT 2020. Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, vol 194. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-69221-6_42

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  • The Failure of Coca-Cola Blak

The Failure of Coca-Cola Blak - Case Study Example

The Failure of Coca-Cola Blak

  • Subject: Management
  • Type: Case Study
  • Level: College
  • Pages: 3 (750 words)
  • Downloads: 24

Extract of sample "The Failure of Coca-Cola Blak"

It is evidently clear from the discussion that in the idea of products, the mind of the potential buyer is very important because it determines whether the consumer will buy it or not. The coca-cola company chose to use iconic glass bottles in packaging this drink and topped it with some plastic cap which is not professional in marketing and promotion of a new product it needs to be packaged well in a way that it is pleasing to the customers from afar. In terms of place, the good was readily available though it could be distributed better by the leading supermarkets in the US.

In promotion, this would involve creativity and imagination in order that the information about the product would be where other competitors’ information does not reach, though we find that the internet advertising is slowly replacing the traditional ways of promotion. The coca-cola company did not put this into consideration and no wonder the massive failure. The bottle also comes in a tightly wrapped plastic sleeve that did not allow the customers to see what was packaged inside unless the consumer poured a bit of it in some glass.

Also, the drink was more of Dark Brown in color whereas the name suggested more black in color. The name should give more details of the product. It was billed as carbonated fusion beverage which means that it is a fusion of coke and coffee though this is not mentioned anywhere in the packaging only shown in the ingredients list as almost the last and indicating coffee extracts. When the coca-cola company announced the launch of it in 2006, there was nothing in the search in support of the announcement and there was nothing on their website to support the product.

The big brands should always take into consideration that the internet and the websites go a long way in marketing their new products because it helps to capture some buzz usually created by those huge announcements. In pricing, this company had failed because it was relatively expensive. Consumers will always choose to buy cheaper goods in the market if the two goods will add the same value to their lives. In marketing this product, the market research would have been very important in knowing the companies that they would partner with in order to market the new product better.

The promotions too were not to standard and the product would have or would do better if the marketing and promotion part did its work very well. The product was also a bit expensive considering that it was a new product on the market. It was also more expensive than what most people expected of the product. Coca-cola Blak is full of artificial sweeteners and so it does not have the gritty, sticky mouthfeel and it is not so much caloric. It gave a toffee scent on opening. It also gives a lightheaded, detached feeling.

This drink was certainly unique and tasty. If it is marketed in the best way it would do very well in the market. The packaging of the soft drink should also be changed in order that it would be appealing to the consumer. In the business, for the product to have lived on and if it comes back to the market the company should ensure a very good mix of the very right product that the consumers need, the coffee being sold at the very right and convenient price and in the most convenient place and use the best efficient and suitable promotion strategy.

  • Case Study Of Change Management In The Coca Cola Corporation
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