Why Coca-Cola ‘Killing’ Coke Zero for ‘Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’
The popular Coke Zero will be phased out across markets sooner than you can imagine as the global company, Coca-Cola is modifying the product formulation and its communication especially in line with global market and consumers’ demands.
According to an exclusive released on Coca-Cola’s blog – “Unbottled” titled “Why we are giving Coke Zero an Ungrade”, Stuart Kronauge, President, USA Operations/Senior Vice President, Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, Coke Zero has refreshed and delighted hundreds of millions of fans for over a decade with its real Coca-Cola taste without sugar or calories. Now, through advanced in-house innovation and more than a year of market testing, Coke Zero is getting a new name, new look and even more delicious taste, he explained.
In a nut’s shell, Coca-Cola Co. is killing Coke Zero in favour of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. It’s hard to tell what’s different, however, beyond a significant design and branding overhaul reports adage.
The ingredient list remains largely the same, including the use of aspartame as a sweetener. “We optimized the blend of flavors that gave Coke Zero its real Coca-Cola taste,” a Coca-Cola spokeswoman said when asked to explain the difference in the formula. She pointed to changes in the natural flavor composition. New packaging plugs a “new improved taste.
But the alterations seem as much about marketing as the liquid. By putting “Zero Sugar” in the name, rather than just “Zero,” the brand more clearly communicates that it does not contain sugar.
The negative publicity around sugar’s link to obesity has emerged as a major threat to soda makers in recent years, which has only intensified as more local governments enact taxes on sugary drinks.
PepsiCo made a similar change last year when it rebranded its Pepsi Max product as Pepsi Zero Sugar. It promoted the shift by making Pepsi Zero Sugar, not regular Pepsi.
Duane Stanford, editor of beverage industry trade publications, Beverage Digest, does not not see the change from Coke Zero as a wholesale change to the formula or taste profile. Rather, “the big news today is that they are being extremely pointed about the fact that there is no sugar in this product,” he said. “They want to leave no doubt about that. Because consumers want to better control their intake of sugar.”
Coca-Cola is pouring significant marketing into the new product, which will hit stores in August. A campaign running from September through December will include TV, digital, radio, outdoor, social media and retail advertising, as well as a sampling tour.
The effort “represents the biggest investment we have made in the brand since its launch in 2005,” Kronauge said in her blog post.
The evolution “comes at a time when Coke Zero is a strong, growing brand,” she said, citing 3.5% dollar sales growth in 2016. “We recognized an opportunity to give the brand another boost and to encourage more Coca-Cola fans to try a great-tasting zero-sugar product.”
With reports from adage.com