The new Diet Coke package design is certainly colorful but the strategy behind the package seems confusing. The simplest test that I always do with logo design or even print ads. Take a step back and ask “What’s the first thing you see?” I see the word “Coke”. I see it on the traditional Coke red background.
What’s the second thing you see? I see multiple colors. And I think, aren’t a few of those formerly failed flavors from the past few decades?
What’s the third thing you see? I see weird little drawings along the bottom of the can, that I’m not sure what those are? If you force me to look, maybe I will. Why is the cherry flavor in purple, and not red? You have to look at your execution as though you are a consumer.
What I haven’t seen yet, is the word “Diet”. Hmmm. Oh, there it is, very small, sideways and in a script that’s hard to read. Why are you hiding the word Diet, when your brand name is DIET COKE?
Is Diet Coke a brand itself, or is it part of a master brand?
I know a few years ago, Coke tried to make all the packaging look the same, so that it looked like one big family, with most of the can using the big Coca Cola red logo. It was done in a test market and failed miserably. But it showed you the strategic mindset.
Coke needs to face that carbonated beverages are in sharp decline
This decline has to change your strategy. While Coke and Pepsi have been in a share dog fight for the last 50 years, that fight is now a fight for survival. With both Coke and Pepsi stretched across legacy success stories of the original, diet and zero/max sub-brands, and stretched across legacy success flavors, the reality is that the consumer mind space and retailer shelf space will eventually collapse.
The only remaining strategy is to beat each other.
It reminds me of that great mythology story about two hunters bedded down at their campfire and were about to fall asleep when a giant bear loomed in front of them. One hunter rushed to put on his sneakers. The other said, “What good will that do? You will never outrun that bear.” The first one said, “I am not worried about outrunning the bear. All I have to do is outrun you!”
That’s where the Coke brand is right now. All they have to do for the decade is outrun Pepsi. Don’t over think some of the things you are currently over-thinking.
- Diet Coke is a brand, not a sub brand. Launched in 1981, it was treated as though it were its own brand from day one. Why try to change that now, especially as you face a declining category? Use the separate Diet Coke brand to your advantage to squeeze out Pepsi.
- I know the word “diet” might not fit our modern day “organic” and “low carb” words. But “Diet Coke” means more to consumers than the word diet. Maybe you should have called it Coke Light like Europe does. But it is what it is. Don’t over think it.
- Those look like cute flavor choices, but launching four new flavors at once is crazy. Your retailers will likely take one or two. Also, launching four at once just spreads your sales across the four flavors so that none of them will generate high enough sales to hit a threshold of success.
So I guess I don’t like the strategy, the naming or the design. What do you think?
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